Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Ex-homeless set up outreach

May 20 2009
Streetlights‘ motto is "set a thief to catch a thief" After many years of homelessness and drug abuse, Brent and Rudi, now clean and recovered, believed they could help others people on the streets. Hence, they started running a charity for this purpose. Streetlights is the result; an organisation which has been running for a few months with the aim of feeding the homeless, handing out clothing, and going into institutions to give support to the needy. It also aims to assist and educate, through developing self-confidence and life skills. This being in London, there's a lot of work to do, but the seven members of staff are enthusiastic and hope to achieve the goals they aspire to. Their model for the charity is Thames Reach Bondway (TRB), since that was the organisation from which Brent Dawson received help, and which still gives him advice and support. Streetlights has not yet been registered as a charity, but Dawson is working with a solicitor to gain registration. At the moment its only source of funding comes from a local church and from people they met through Narcotics Anonymous, which Dawson attended for his rehabilitation. "We are open for suggestion to broaden our options of funding," he informed The Pavement. Dawson spent five years homeless in London and was a drug addict for 20 years. He eventually turned his life around and has been off the drugs for six years now. If TRB hadn't stepped in, Dawson might not be where he is today working to help people who have been experiencing what he already went through: homelessness, drugs, crime. He told The Pavement it took him a long time before he was strong enough to be able to work on his dream of helping other people, but he is convinced that they can achieve a lot. "If you want to deal with the homeless, then get someone who has been homeless, who has gone through the system of trying to get off the streets and then train that person through the next step," he said. "Set a thief to catch a thief" is his motto. Two other members of his staff have also been homeless. Streetlight's mission will help provide rough sleepers with emergency assistance and encourage them to move into accommodation and access specialist services when needed.