How do you start your day off right, breakfast and a cuppa?
Our homeless drop in centre staff know there are lots of little things we take for granted when we start each day. Cleaning your teeth, a shower, breakfast and clean dry clothes. Not to mention a little device in your pocket which can tell you the time, the weather prediction and how much money you have in the bank.
They provide showers, washing facilities and changes of clothes as well as hot drinks and breakfast food.
These little things all add up. To safety, dignity, autonomy and ultimately giving people the space they need to take a breath.
Sally who manages the Gateshead drop in is grateful they get to be there for people: “It means a lot being able to run the drop in. Having that safe space for people. Sometimes when crisis hits – job loss, relationship breakdown, an illness which means people can’t work in the way they used to – people don’t know where to turn. It’s good that we can be here for them.
“We don’t have an appointment system so people can just turn up and get the help they need and have a safe space to turn to when their lives unravel.”
Sally feels that the drop in acts as a vital safety net for those who need it. “A lot of people we work with don’t have that support network they need when things go wrong. They don’t have anyone to turn to or the people they do turn to can’t help them.
“We offer stability in the midst of chaos. They know that when they come, whatever it is they need we will try to help. We can’t fix everything but we will always do whatever we can.”
Our Basis centres are a place of refuge for those facing homelessness. They offer a beacon of hope to rough sleepers and those who find themselves in crisis.
More importantly, our trained staff are there to help people access wider support such as primary health care, applying for benefits and securing safe places to stay.
“People have a stereotypical idea of what homelessness looks like, but we support all kinds of people. My team are unbelievably welcoming to everyone who turns up.
“We see everyone and anyone and whatever people need, we’ll help. Housing, finances, dealing with a difficult landlord, finding somewhere to sleep that night. If we don’t know how we’ll signpost on. We’re a jack of all trades really.”
Many different people access the drop in sometimes for short term intervention and sometimes long term support. Sometimes it’s young men and women who don’t have a family to turn to, including care leavers like Jase who has been supported by Sarah at our Sunderland drop in.
“We know Jase* as Sunderland’s finest. He always has a keen sense of style and loves to teach us about which colours match or clash. Jase has slept in a tent over summer after finding nowhere to go as a care leaver.”
Following ongoing support from the Basis Sunderland team Jase was offered a flat in the area.
“He is hopeful that now, with a roof over his head, he will be able to find and sustain a job. Over the summer he has appreciated having fresh pairs of socks when he needed them.”
Support the work of Basis – and our other projects – by making a donation or joining our Cornerstone Givers.