The top 10 myths of UTA: the second myth

Gary Bishop – CEO of Justlife – is counting down the days to the Brighton Marathon by raising awareness and support through highlighting the top ten myths about unsupported temporary accommodation. The first – ‘It’s only a handful of people’ – was published last week and today we are sharing myth no. 2:

‘It’s better than living on the streets’

In some myths there is a grain of truth and this might be one – but it is just that – a grain. Sure, if the pavement lay thick with snow and the temperature is plummeting and wind is chaffing your face as you try to fall asleep – a roof, some walls and patch of dry floor would be welcome. But these dwellings are meant to provide home for those in our communities who have fallen on tough times. Home is the place we all rely on – a place of refuge, nurture, safety and rest – Our research shows that unsupported temporary accommodation provides no such thing.

Many, many people refuse to live in unsupported temporary accommodation, preferring to remain on the streets. One of our former clients and volunteers discovered upon arrival at his accommodation that the mattress was stained with blood so chose to return to prison for a month rather than set foot in the disgusting room, another was met by a dozen or more pigeons in the room he was offered – their stench and mess all around.

Over the last 10 years I’ve met and talked to hundreds of people who live in unsupported temporary accommodation and I’ve seen enough bullying, extortion, physical violence, sexual assault, scabies, illegal money lending and intimidation that I am absolutely certain that faced with the devastating trauma of homelessness, unless the blood was freezing in my veins, I would take my chances on the streets rather than set down in one of these places.

Supporting Justlife will help us to make real and lasting system change as well as providing frontline service to hundreds of people in need everyday.

 

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