In November and December 2010 Doorway conducted a survey of guests, with the aim of producing a guest profile and statistics for funding purposes. The format was based on our 2008 survey but expanded to include questions on Housing Options and Homes for Wiltshire and provide information on guests’ prison sentences, literacy and voting rights. The response to the survey was very positive as we had 42 respondents and only 1 refusal.
The survey gave us broad information on issues faced by our guests, for example, 50% have been to prison, 63% suffer from mental health problems and there is a high level of substance misuse. More pertinent however are the results about specific problems and the connections between many of these issues. I have written a report on the findings of the survey called The Face of Homelessness which suggests that the state and society are failing to deal with the interconnected issues faced by the ‘homeless’. The report focuses in detail on substance misuse, mental health, prison time, employment, and education and tries to show that ‘homelessness’ is very often used as a broad term to describe housing status, but in reality describes the chaotic lifestyle that is a sum of many inextricably linked issues.
Although the survey was a simple piece of research from a specific sample of people it provides us with an insight into the issues dealt with by our guests, and how very often their complex needs are not met. This first piece of research by Doorway provides a broad view of the interconnected issues faced by our guests, and will hopefully in time be followed up by some more detailed research into specific problems. The conclusion of the report suggests that currently our guests experience multi-deprivation and that their needs are not met in society. Furthermore, it states that with our current government and the introduction of spending cuts it is highly unlikely that their needs will be met in the near future.
Report by Helen Taylor, Assistant Support Worker, Doorway
‘The Face of Homelessness’ Report on findings from the guest survey completed in December 2010 is available separately here