Gone are the days when helping the homeless meant rolling out a swag and leaving some food, according to a Newcastle support service for men and children sleeping rough.
Matthew Talbot Homelessness Service manager Karen Soper said there was a common misconception that this was the best way to help.
"We're an evidence based organisation," she said. "We know it doesn't work. It makes me feel great, but it doesn't change anything.
"The person is still sleeping rough on the streets the next day, they've got a higher chance of dying early. Their mental health is affected, they're not eating properly, they're not sleeping properly.
"We know they're there for a reason. They've had trauma, so we want to get them off the streets and put them in a place and put supports around them."
The St Vincent De Paul service operates 12 dwellings at Wickham - eight bed sits for single men, a pair of two-bedroom villas for men with pets and two houses - with three and four bedrooms - for families.
Clients stay up to three months while liaising with a case worker, who helps them find something permanent and puts them in touch with relevant services to get them back on their feet.
The service opened its doors for a tour on Thursday ahead of the annual CEO Sleepout next Thursday at McDonald Jones Stadium. All funds from the sleepout help the service continue supporting men in the area.
Simon Gould, who is the managing director of repairs business Serve Tech, has participated in the sleepout for a few years, but toured Matthew Talbot for the first time on Thursday. He said it was eye opening to see how the service worked to make participants more independent rather than giving handouts.
"I had no idea of how complex and how well it's set up," he said. "My mind boggles at how these people can ever get into a home when people who are reasonably comfortable can't find a home. It definitely feels like it would be a dead end street for them if they didn't have programs like this to help."
Ms Soper said the service had more than a 90 per cent success rate of keeping participants off the streets.
"It's a very successful program because it is person-centred," she said. "Our case workers are very creative, we'll never evict anybody into homelessness. It's very, very rare that people don't have an option at the end of three months."
But the housing crisis is putting a strain on the service. Ms Soper said a lack of social housing along with low vacancy and high prices in the private rental market was making things harder.
"Crisis services are in crisis, we are being inundated with referrals," she said. "We don't have the funding to employ new people. I could employ 10 people tomorrow to meet the demand.
"People we support on benefits are not going to get [private] properties. Real estate agents have said to us 'we're not even looking at people on benefits, we don't need to'. It's a very dire situation. People are staying on our case loads longer because we can't get outcomes as quickly as before."
But the sleepout helps keep the charity afloat and helps them provide clients with equipment when they head out in the world.
"That goes towards people we support, helping them set up their new homes," Ms Soper said. "Vinnies were really impacted by COVID with the shops becoming closed. Staff were laid off. It's been really, really difficult."
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