Homeless information

A long time ago, the old adage “knowledge is power” was brought to my attention, and over the years I have come to see the truth of this. Power can be manifested in many ways, and often it relates to the self advancement of those who have the knowledge, although in this instance, given the purpose of what is about to follow, I would like to think those who will be empowered will be those who are homeless.

These days when people ask me what it is I do, my answer is often along the lines I am retired (although still a little way off from being an OAP) but I spend a lot of my time doing unpaid community related activities, especially among the homeless. I won’t elaborate here what those activities are, as these have been covered in previous writings, but the upshot of all this is that I have gathered  a considerable body of knowledge about the homeless situation, especially in the town where I live, over the years, and I am happy to share this with all and sundry and often I do. When I embark upon conversations about someone’s homeless situation, I usually put out a disclaimer early on, to the effect I don’t have easy solutions, I am not a case worker (although the nature of the work means it can’t always be avoided), and I can’t guarantee that what I do share will be the main part of what people need to know, but I always try to steer people in the right direction and, within limits, support them as they continue their journey of homeless to what we all hope for – a better place. What I intend to do in this post is list my various writings on homelessness, which I hope will prove to be helpful.

When I began to get involved full time in community work at the turn of the millennium, my principle interest was that of mental health but I later began to see many other issues that needed addressing, including homelessness, where there are many links to mental health. Around 2007 / 2008, I got involved as a partner helping our local council formulate its homeless prevention strategy. Around the same time, I began to come across people who were homeless and found to my consternation that not only was our local council not providing the help that was needed but our local homeless hostel, run by the homeless charity, HARP, was invariably full and the council was also looking to close its own hostels.

Southend Homeless Action Network (SHAN) was born soon after. SHAN sought to try to address some of the issues around homelessness, and I became its chair and remain so. The SHAN webpage provides some further information about its activities, such as its bi-monthly meetings, and contains an important resource pertinent to this article – a leaflet about where to go for help if you are a rough sleeper in the Southend area. One of my earliest writings that considered issues around homelessness was the Missing Communities report, the culmination of a yearlong project that sought to find out more about the main “hard to reach” communities in my area, with the view to meaningfully engaging with them. In my “Outside the Camp” and “Onward and Upward” books, I reflected on my work as a community activist, and in my “Theological Musings” book I considered the theological rational for this work. All are downloadable from my website and all include sections looking at the issue of homelessness and related matters.

A little over a year ago, I started my career as a blogger and have been blogging regularly ever since on a wide range of matters, especially community related, including on homelessness. While these tend to offer my own personal perspectives on a wide range of homeless related issues these do reflect considerable knowledge gained over the years dealing with the homeless and their issues. I end this blog entry by listing some of the more pertinent blog postings, in the hope that it will become “knowledge is power” to the reader. These are listed in the order of being posted, and readers are invited to click onto the titles to find out more.

  1. Myths about rough sleeping
  2. Church Winter Night Shelters
  3. Helping the homeless
  4. Rent deposit schemes
  5. Housing Justice
  6. Street Spirit
  7. Homeless solutions (1)
  8. Homeless solutions (2)
  9. Homelessness practicalities
  10. Night Shelter time again
  11. Homelessness & mental health
  12. Night Shelter practicalities (1)
  13. Night Shelter Practicalities (2)
  14. Counting Rough Sleepers
  15. Night Shelter Practicalities (3)
  16. Night Shelter Practicalities (4)
  17. Policing homelessness
  18. Night Shelter Practicalities (5)
  19. Homelessness and ping-pong
  20. The politics of homelessness
  21. Rough sleeper practicalities
  22. Helping rough sleepers!?
  23. Housing the homeless
  24. Street Spirit – sleep out
  25. Winter Night Shelters ending
  26. British housing crisis
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