Rough Sleeping on Rail Pilot Outreach

Network Rail

Client: Shelter

Between October 2020 and November 2021, Network Rail and Shelter delivered a project which supported people sleeping rough around Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street stations to access and sustain accommodation, mental health and substance misuse services and help to overcome complex barriers to securing and keeping a home.

Network Rail funded a Local Stakeholder Manager, two Outreach Engagement Workers and a Volunteer and Training Coordinator in each location, plus a mental health worker in Manchester and substance misuse services in Birmingham. Several of the staff have experienced homelessness, substance misuse and/or entered the criminal justice system, and so could understand the support required.

Through training, station staff were given an understanding of the issues faced by rough sleepers, the confidence to approach them, and the information to make a referral to Shelter to access support for the individual. The training package design was supported by a previous Shelter service user utilising their lived experience of homelessness.

The project took a user centred approach, tailoring support given to individual needs such as accessing benefits, registering with a GP or dentist, obtaining ID and setting up bank accounts.