Those suffering due to the homeless/drug crisis in this country is at an all-time high (up 50% since 2010). Between 3/1/19 and 3/3/19 Sustain has received 290 referrals and have placed 66 of these on the same day as the receipt of the referral.

The first Monday of every month myself, staff and representatives from our home providers kindly volunteer time to go out in our Sustain minibus to provide food, clothes and sleeping bags (provided by His Church and FareShare) to up to 50 people. A number of the people we see are not necessarily homeless, they are sofa surfing in unsuitable conditions, it has been explained to us by these individuals that they have often ended up in despair due to sanctions or issues with their Universal Credit claims. They are cold, hungry, sad and in desperate need of basics such as underwear and cleaning facilities.

We work closely with so many outside agencies and have an SLA with the NHS Discharge Team whom we accommodate hospital leavers who would otherwise be bed-blocking, thus wasting the NHS’ valuable and limited resources. The nurse’s work covers City Hospital, Sandwell Hospital, QE and Rowley Regis Hospital. We accommodate a number of these clients on the same day as a referral and whilst they may not be in their location of choice, they are at least given a home and receive the required level of support. If necessary we assist and signpost them to services in another area if they require this.

The death of a 51-year-old male in Birmingham City Centre due to a heart attack from the cold weather hit the headlines and made people stand up and be conscious of the epidemic but I wonder how long for? Last night the weather was dismal, we could go home, the last thing I did before we left was hand out sleeping bags to a man in Barclays’ doorway in Colmore Row, cover him up and tucked-him in.

We are now liaising with other companies and not-for-profit companies and charities and we’re becoming more cohesive.