Colin's blog

Colin Glover is CEO of The Connection at St Martin's.

"Managing a charity working with homeless people in Central London is challenging at the best of times.

"There is, however, an additional  danger that those of us in the homelessness sector take a particular view of the world and have it reinforced by colleagues and partner organisations. We do things in the future because that is what we did in the past.

"Every so often it is therefore good to step outside of this comfort zone and see how things look from the outside or from a different angle.

"We currently have a fairly restricted interpretation of what rough sleeping means and how rough sleepers should behave.

"Our services are based round this view and our resources allocated accordingly. This view also has the advantage of enabling us to count numbers, to see trends and to gate keep access to services.

"Westminster Homeless Action Together (WHAT) gives us an opportunity to gather information about rough sleeping and rough sleepers in a new and exciting way.

"We may discover that more people are sleeping rough than our current outreach teams and day centres  are in contact with.

"We may discover individuals or groups of people who, whilst not being actually bedded down, are rough sleepers in every other sense of the word.

"It is also possible that we will discover that our outreach teams and other services are currently in contact with the vast majority of individuals.

"The figures may be scary and they may be depressing but any organisation which has resources and has a mission to reduce rough sleeping is in a far better position to do this if it has a true understanding of the issues and scale of the problem and not one which is generated by habit and convenience."