This month in the Justlife Manchester drop-in we are talking about homelessness... the ins and outs of it... what it really like... what accommodation people end up living in... the impact on health... how to get out of it.The majority of people who walk in the doors of the Justlife centre are experiencing or have recently experienced homelessness and many live in what we call unsupported temporary accommodation. We know that homelessness is rarely a singular issue, in fact, last year, LankellyChase (2015) published 'Hard Edges'
a report into severe and multiple deprivation in the UK. One of the key findings was: 'There is a huge overlap between the offender, substance misusing and homeless populations. For example, two thirds of people using homeless services are also either in the criminal justice system or in drug treatment in the same year.'
The multiplicity of issues that homeless people face was highlighted this week by our service users - who filled 3 massive sheets with ideas and experience, answering the question 'what is homelessness?' Answers included: physical health issues such as: hunger, bad teeth, drug use and alcohol; mental health problems: self-harm depression, being tired and frightened, having no hope, feelings of being controlled; being taken advantage of through: rape, being attacked, bullying and robbery. These are real issues highlighted by people who are there or have been in this situation recently.
Asking such questions of service users is crucial for Justlife being able to develop what we do appropriately and keeping the needs of the people that we help at the centre. It helps us know what people face so we know what service s are needed. Not only is it crucial that we keep listening, but it's important that government, grant makers and commissioners are listening to our workers and service users too. This is highlighted by the Lloyds Bank Foundation
in their latest blog entry
.If you want to know what kind of impact Justlife has had in the last year, check out our latest annual review
for some stats, facts and stories.