Care Navigator - Lambeth
Born in Amsterdam, Jan works as Care Navigator with the START team in Lambeth, working with people with experience of rough sleeping and severe mental health issues. Having experienced street homelessness himself in London he fully understands the trials and tribulations that homeless people have to endure, not just during Christmas, but every day of the year: “I totally get that,” he says, “Homelessness leads to a state of low self-esteem and a lack of trust in people and society in general.”
Having worked with people experiencing homelessness at Spear in Richmond and Crisis Skylight, Jan is good at building up trust and creating bridges. He calls it: “Casting lifelines; just keep casting lifelines.” When people find themselves in a hole we need to try to prevent them from digging deeper and then help them with a route they can use to climb out; look for the alternate options and angles. Small steps lead to little victories that can then lead to positive, life-changing results. You are not running the 100m sprint, but carefully negotiating a marathon steeplechase; homelessness is the mother of all obstacle courses; no quick fixes. Jan is firmly committed to trying to prevent people from having to go through what he experienced himself.