A solution to homelessness

A research project has found it is vital for homeless people to get involved in training and volunteering to break the cycle of homelessness.

Groundswell UK, a self help network for the homeless, has carried out a nine-month research project looking at 25 people who had changed their route and broken their former homeless routine.

They also interviewed one friend and one professional contact for each of the subjects.

All the people involved had either slept rough, lived in a hostel or had been “sofa surfing” for more than six months.

During the project, some common experiences emerged when discussing how they got their life back on track, such as having to change their attitude towards themselves and others, as well as overcoming pride and learning to trust people.

Researcher Mike Hudson said: “Getting involved in some kind of group activity, like training or volunteering, is vital for many people who want to move away from homelessness.

“Crucially it is about starting to regain self worth, which means looking beyond their own needs, giving back, developing confidence, finding structure, escaping boredom and regaining a sense of belonging.”

Commercial recycler and social welfare charity Recycling Lives, helps the homeless, unemployed, socially excluded, educationally disadvantaged and the welfare dependent gain confidence, self worth and routine.

Recycling Lives Residents are given the very best pastoral care before being given the opportunity to try their hand at volunteering, before progressing to training courses and work placements.

Steven Jackson, Founder and Chairman of Recycling Lives said: “Recycling Lives gives those members of society facing an uncertain future the opportunity to change their lives for the better. A variety of work experience placements, training and educational courses and a special community, helps Residents to develop self worth, a good work ethic and overcome issues that have lead them to this situation.

“I agree with Mr Hudson from Groundswell when he says training and volunteering is essential in the battle against homelessness; as it gives those down on their luck a positive focus and the opportunity of a future.”

Groundswell is using the findings from the research to work with the umbrella organisation Homeless Link to develop a training program for staff in the sector.