Common Ambition‘s lived-experience groups cover many different aspects of the project’s work – as well as designing improvements to Brighton’s homeless health system, there is a media and comms group that looks at how to communicate the project’s findings, and how to ensure the voice of people experiencing homelessness, is heard across the city.
For World Homeless Day 2022 on Monday 10th October, the steering group looked at common misconceptions about homelessness, and addressed these through statistics, mythbusting, and exploring what “home” and homelessness mean to them, comparing these to the official definitions out there.
A fantastic blog about misconceptions, by steering group members, is available on the Justlife website.
The First Special Rapporteur on housing enshrines the human right to adequate housing, as the right of every person to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.
This way of framing “home” resonated with the group, and led to a discussion of what a secure home would mean to different members – these notes (pictured) illustrated some of the ways in which a secure home can provide a safe and restorative space, enabling both physical and mental wellbeing.
The group also looked at the official definition of homelessness, and related it to their own lived experience.
Sleeping on the streets is just the tip of the iceberg; in contrast to a secure home, homelessness might mean living somewhere “so bad it causes physical and mental health issues”. It can be frightening, and can lead to loneliness and trust issues.
This snapshot, from the steering group of experts by experience, offers an insight into the feelings and experience that can go with being in a secure home, and the trauma of becoming homeless.
The statistics reveal the sheer number of people facing homelessness, and the group’s work illustrates the reality that hundreds of thousands of people are currently facing in England. It is not just sleeping on the streets, but living in a precarious situation, one that is unsafe, unsuitable, at risk of being taken away.
After exploring the statistics and definitions, the steering group looked at ideas of how people can make a difference, and get involved.
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