We have added a few new features to Street Support to make it even easier for someone experiencing homelessness to find help, and are now working on other improvements with the charter action groups. Here’s a brief overview of what is new…
You can now choose to view nearby services for any category on a map. This enables you to see quickly the choice of services to meet a given need, in scenarios where location is most important.
You can still see services by provider, or as a timetable if you prefer. From the listings you can filter to a subcategory, for example within medical services you could choose to see dentists.
Although many people who are homeless do have access to the internet, either personally or through services, most rough sleepers don’t access information this way. Street Support is used by outreach workers, volunteers, the police and members of the public to find and pass on information.
We have had some requests to be able to download and print information which can be handed out to those without internet access. You can now do this using the ‘print page’ button from any service category. For example, selecting meals, you can print out a timetable of places nearby to get meals on each day of the week.
Note that many services offer hot meals and at the same time offer expert advice and longer term support, so it is a good way for people sleeping rough to engage with services that can help them, rather than accepting food on the street.
We have added a notification that will appear across the website whenever the severe cold weather provision is in place (known as SWEP). This gives information about how to refer into accommodation, so that someone rough sleeping can move inside.
There are statutory guidelines on when accommodation must be provided in periods of cold weather, but the council and services can decide to put on extra cold weather provision at other times as needed. You can find out more by going to streetsupport.net/swep.
This advice is currently for Manchester and Leeds city councils only, we are working on gathering the information for other areas.
Working as a backbone organisation, supporting many local organisations rather than providing our own frontline services, it is not always simple for us to show where we have direct impact. We are able to see that the site and app are being regularly accessed, with over 200,000 page views to date, and over 400 new volunteers registered through the site.
We also collect regular feedback from users, services and the action groups, and hear some nice stories of where Street Support has made a difference, through connecting people with needs to organisations, and to individuals and businesses with resources to offer.
This information is now available to view at any time through the impact dashboard at streetsupport.net/impact. If there is anything you would like us to add, please let us know.
Over the last few months we have been working closely with Coffee4Craig and other grassroots groups to gather information to make it easier to work towards best practice around safeguarding, transparency etc. A new ‘Community Toolkit’ section has been developed which will be available very soon, including best practice guidance, standard document templates, training information and other support materials. There will also be opportunity to apply for a best practice award for your group.
We have started to include services from outside of the city across Greater Manchester. We have many enquiries about services from people outside of the city, and are working on creating these links and expanding the network in the coming weeks.
If you know of a service supporting homeless people that is not already listed, please encourage them to register at streetsupport.net/register.
Better accommodation advice
Alongside this, we are working to redesign the accommodation section of the site to make it far more useful for finding suitable accommodation for someone based on their situation.
We have started work on a new B&B listing and reviews section with JustLife and the substandard accommodation action group, enabling them to share information and work with landlords to improve standards. More on that coming soon.
We hope this is useful. Everything we do is based on the needs of local people who are homeless, and the services that support them. Any new features are designed alongside representatives from both of these groups.
If you would like to support our work, or offer time as a volunteer please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.