Danielle's story - from Framework Street Outreach - 24/11/2021
Homeless women can often be more difficult to house than men for a few reasons. One is that rather than sleep on the street they often find partners and other men to stay with. This means they are sometimes ‘hidden’ from services and also can put them in dangerous situations. There are also less housing options for women as well as the demand is less.
Framework have known Danielle for over 5 years. She has been homeless for all of that time; she sometimes rough sleeps and sometimes stays with friends or men she doesn’t know. She is also known to Sheffield Working Women Opportunities Project (SWWOP); a fantastic organisation that helps prostitutes in Sheffield. Danielle has always engaged really well with staff and has always been a pleasure to work with. However her extremely chaotic lifestyle has made working with Danielle extremely difficult. She often will not stay around long enough for services to be able to help her.
The Covid pandemic made it difficult for our clients to make money. Activities such as street begging and prostitution declined during the pandemic as people were told to stay inside. This caused a lot of our clients to come to us for help with signing up to benefits. Danielle was one of those that came to us and we were able to get her signed up to benefits for the first time in 4 years. Even though she had no bank account, we worked with the DWP to get her vouchers which can be exchanged for money at any post office. This enabled Danielle to be less chaotic. She came to see us more for help and we were able to get her introduced to the Street Outreach Nurse. She started engaging with her health and her mental health.
We were still unable to place her due to her not staying around for long enough. A few months later, she came to Archer Project in the day. She said that she really needed help this time and was willing to stay the whole day. The Rough Sleeper Initiative team in the council came out to assess her face to face. They started looking for accommodation for her and managed to find a room in a BnB. Danielle was still with us so we were able to let her know and help her get there.
Having somewhere to stay has enabled the Street Outreach Nurse to do some much needed blood tests on Danielle, get her signed up with Fitzwilliam drug service and has enabled the homeless mental health team to work with her. We plan to help her get a bank account and help her move on to supported housing.
Danielle’s success is down to her own determination to keep on trying as well as collaborative working between SWWOP, Archer Project, Framework, HAST, Street Outreach Nurse, RSI team within Sheffield City Council and Fitzwilliam.
Stephanie Haines, Framework Street Outreach Team