When you see a vulnerable person on the street, how can you tell how to help? At our Perspective event last October, we heard from former rough sleeper Kerri; she slept on the steps of the National Gallery for 10 years and said that money from the public kept her addicted to drugs and kept her on the streets.
Westminster City Council has launched its ‘Hidden Network’ initiative and campaign promoting the alliance of dedicated professionals and volunteers working around the clock to end rough sleeping in the London borough of Westminster.
The Hidden Network provide life-changing and long-term solutions to constructively support people that are sleeping rough. These solutions include counselling, befriending and addiction recovery, assistance with securing ongoing employment and accommodation. The campaign marks the beginning of a major Westminster City Council initiative to encourage the public to give their money to a network of charities specialised in helping rough sleepers to turn their lives around. A key message of the campaign will be that giving money to rough sleepers – while done with good intentions – often has the effect of keeping people on the streets.
The aim is to illustrate that it is far more effective to end rough sleeping by donating to six Westminster charities rather than directly to the person. The six charities that make up the Hidden Network are: