What is homelessness?
Homelessness means not having a home. This could mean living on the streets, sofa surfing or living somewhere that is not safe.
If you're concerned about someone experiencing homelessness you can make a referral to Petrus.
Homelessness in Rochdale
Homelessness is a growing crisis across the UK. Rochdale, like many other towns, has a greater and more visible rough sleeper presence in its town centre.
In partnership with other agencies, Petrus works with every rough sleeper and listens to what they need to support them off the streets.
Petrus also works with people who are at risk of homelessness to keep them off the streets and out of temporary accommodation.
What causes homelessness?
There is no one reason a person becomes homeless and many of the individuals Petrus works with have multiple complex needs which are often caused by significant trauma.
Many of the individuals Petrus supports have experienced mental health issues and substance misuse. Leaving care, the army or prison with nowhere to go can also result in homelessness.
There are also many social causes such as lack of affordable housing, unemployment and poverty.
Petrus recognises that these experiences can affect the way a person engages, trusts and communicates and we aim to deliver all our services to encourage positive engagement and sustainable, long term change.
The impact homelessness has on health and wellbeing
Homelessness causes poor mental and physical health and it exacerbates any existing illnesses. Rough sleepers often suffer with respiratory illnesses, chronic diseases and disorders, skin infections, poor nutrition and dental care.
All of this can impact on their self-esteem and how they feel they are perceived by society. There is also a stigma associated to being homeless which means some people feel unworthy of help and support. Having a mental health condition or substance misuse issue often means people feel misunderstood or struggle to communicate.
For women who are homeless, access to sanitary products is a huge issue. Petrus provides free sanitary products and new underwear to all women so that they do not have to experience the added indignity of using socks, toilet paper or clothing when menstruating. We also provide access to shower and laundry facilities.
People often find it difficult to know where to go and who to ask for help, and we try and make this as easy as possible.
Petrus works with individuals who sleep rough and try to engage with them and start to build a relationship with them, which is key to building trust and facilitating positive choices. We encourage them to access appropriate support and can refer them into temporary accommodation or in to Petrus Housing.
We get to know most rough sleepers in Rochdale as the majority come to the Petrus Hub for food, clothing and toiletries.