South Bank Business Improvement District (BID) works closely with its members to have an effective and caring approach to those people who engage in street-based life-styles. This includes homeless people, those engaged in street drinking and begging.
Many of these people are vulnerable, having either addiction or mental health challenges. The services within Lambeth and Southwark Boroughs are some of the best in London. Both Boroughs manage/commission several housing projects to cover the needs of those engaged in this type of behaviour. Waterloo also has a large independent day centre which offers a range of services to clients. These include food, showers, storage, benefits assistance, film club, clothes, hair-cuts, medical assistance, mental health services, washing machines, and last, but probably most important is a place to feel safe, with caring staff to listen.
South Bank BID fund a number of services which assist with this client group. South Bank Patrol Team complete regular joint patrols with the Safer Street Outreach team. This means that our team can take the experts to the probable sites to allow the Outreach team to maximise their time in the area. South Bank Patrol also refer all new engagements directly to the Outreach team, so they can be prepared when they attend that particular individual. South Bank Patrol also signpost clients to the various services available. This could be the local day centre or the Lambeth Assessment Centre. They complete welfare checks at the start of each shift visiting key locations to make sure those sleeping out are okay. They will of course intervene in some cases to move aggressive beggars and assist landowners to maintain their areas to the standard required.
We attend the monthly case review meeting hosted by Lambeth Council Commissioning Service to make sure those we engage with are represented on this list to maximise the services available to these individuals.
Key to success is a medium to long term solution for these clients, which will improve both their physical and mental health whilst tackling in a structured way any addiction issues they may have. In some cases, enforcement actions can be taken, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
It is the joined-up approach between services that has proved to be our greatest asset in this area and we will continue with this approach as we have seen in recent years some very successful outcomes for some of our long-term and entrenched clients.
Employees, residents and visitors can report problems in the area, which will be acted on by The Clean Team. Issues can be reported by contacting the Public Realm team here.