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Turning Point and StopGap: Helping to home the homeless

24 March 2016

Temperatures have plummeted over recent weeks, increasing the risk of severe illness or even worse death for those who are living on the streets. Bronte from Party For The People joined outreach workers Matt and Josh on their morning rounds to get an insight into homelessness across the city.

Starting at 6am, Matt and Josh from Turning Point search for rough sleepers, carrying out vital health and wellbeing checks. They try to encourage the men and women to engage with the Rough Sleepers Service at Sheffield Cathedral.

From there, Turning Point can refer those in need of emergency short-term accommodation to StopGap. The Sheffield based charity provides bed and breakfast accommodation for two to three nights. This gives referral agencies a window of opportunity to secure permanent housing and resolve deeper issues such as substance misuse and poor mental health.

During my time with Turning Point, we visit a variety of spots used by rough sleepers, from car parks to underpasses. The main message from homeless outreach workers this time of year: “Check Weather Watch before you bed down for the night.” Temperatures are regularly being forecast below freezing.

Every man and woman we speak to has a different reason for being on the streets. But the main issues seem to be surrounding mental health issues, alcohol and drugs – proving no one is invincible.

The good news is, there is help available. StopGap and Turning Point are carrying out amazing work in Sheffield. In the last year alone, StopGap provided 599 nights of accommodation for 318 homeless and vulnerable people.

Of the 240 who were referred to StopGap by Turning Point from 1st January 2015 to 10th November 2015, 107 signed up to the service. Of the 57 people who have since left the service, 48 secured longer term accommodation.

StopGap is solely dependent on donations from individuals and organisations in order to help homeless people off the streets.

On Friday 5th February Party For The People is joining forces with our pals - and top Sheffield party starters - Gett Off, for our first event of the year, this time at one of our favourite venues: The Harley. Heading up from London for the night to help the cause are Numbers / Local Action stalwart Deadboy, Wolf Music's Medlar and Rye Wax's Tom Unlikely, with Banana Hill's head honcho Cervo also joining them in the booth. All profits from the night will go to StopGap.

More information and tickets for the night can be found here. Join the Facebook event here.

Turning Point photographs by Matt Collins