Stories from the Front Line

This is a series of articles from a professional working with homeless people. For the privacy of all concerned, their identity will not be revealed. New articles in the series will be posted regularly (hover over the tab above to get a list of the articles published).

Here our correspondent introduces themselves:

My role as a support worker began when I volunteered to help with a city-centre soup run, which opened my eyes to the reality of homelessness, and I wanted to do more. I have since been professionally involved with helping and supporting both the homeless, and recently homed vulnerable people, both for the authorities and on behalf of charitable organisations.

The issues that these people face are often complex, and involve so much more than simply placing them in the first house – any house – that comes along. I am therefore required to work within many different areas of support, such as substance abuse and recovery, mental and physical health, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, childhood neglect or trauma – the list goes on.

Each person’s story is different, and many are so shocking that they are very hard to hear. On the surface, for instance, you might be faced with a drug addict or dysfunctional alcoholic, but once you get beneath their veneer, you will likely find an individual who has suffered a deeply traumatic life. However, once they begin to accept any help, a secure, decent home is vital if there is any chance of introducing them back into society.

Too many times that one basic need – a reasonable place to live – is just not there for those in need. And while they are under a roof, whether by sofa-surfing or living in atrocious conditions, they do not make the statistics you and I so often hear of on the news, and only too often are left to their own devices. By writing this series of individual stories and reports, I hope to shed light on some of the problems they face, and hopefully raise some awareness and understanding.