Homelessness worker sleeps rough in aid of residents he supports

published on 23 Jan 2018

Pat Tamminen, 50, runs The Salvation Army’s William Booth House Lifehouse on Hessle Road in Hull – a 113-bed residential centre for people currently without a place to live. There, Pat and his team provide support, advice and a friendly welcome to people experiencing tough times and tailored assistance as they work through obstacles they are facing in their lives. They also encourage residents to take part in meaningful activities to enhance their stay, either upskilling them for employment or independent living, or fun outlets to break isolation, develop interpersonal skills and raise self-confidence and self-esteem.

Pat said: “Many of us are only ever three pay cheques away from experiencing homelessness. People who have come to William Booth House have lost so much – some have lost professions, including solicitors, specialist doctors and businesses, as well as their families and homes. I worked for the manufacturing industry for 18 years and was made redundant – I realised that my life could’ve taken a different direction had I not found work; I could’ve lost everything, too.”

Pat will be taking part in the sleep out at Freshney Place, West Car Park, run by YMCA Humber. He is raising funds for The Salvation Army’s Lifehouse – named such because it offers people in tough circumstances more than a bed for the night, it offers support, guidance and an opportunity to rebuild and transform lives.

Pat said: “It is easy for people to become isolated when they are on the streets and when they enter a residential centre. However, we want to broaden their horizons and to encourage them to engage with services, and with each other. Fun activities help us all relax and we hope it will remind our residents of their value and the potential we see in them.”

Although the night sleeping outside will be difficult for Pat, he realises the challenges the Lifehouse residents faced were much tougher.

He said: “A shop doorway is not a safe place to be – neither is anywhere in the open late at night in a city. When I sleep out, it will be in a controlled environment but it will be cold and uncomfortable. It won’t give me a full picture of what it’s like to be homeless but it will certainly bring a deeper empathy to the challenges our residents have faced and it will spur me on to go the extra mile in my work and reaffirm why I do what I do.”

The funds raised by Pat will go towards The Salvation Army’s Lifehouse. The Lifehouse recently purchased a minibus and the money raised will help run journeys to take residents to activities offsite, as well as sourcing additional fun activities.

To sponsor Pat, visit his page.