We’ve got to directly challenge public perceptions of homelessness….

Homelessness can never be solved until the public’s perception of the issues surrounding homelessness is directly challenged.

Charities need to be able to work in partnership with statutory organisations in advocating on behalf of those who are marginalised and have no voice in society. However, in order to achieve this, the smaller local projects which receive little or no statutory funding, are entirely reliant on the financial generosity, and the support, of their local communities.

Community engagement is harder in rural areas where homelessness is far more hidden than in the bigger cities. The public are not confronted with the stereotypical image of rough sleepers bedding down and therefore will be ignorant of there being a problem in the first place.

Additionally, the general public does not deem this topic to be an attractive one. The complex needs surrounding homelessness are still society’s greatest taboos; it is not considered good practice to talk about substance dependencies or mental health problems. People don’t want to hear that homelessness could happen to anyone; they don’t want to have to consider what might happen to them if they suddenly found themselves at risk of losing their home. It’s far to easy to remain in a small, safe and secure bubble rather than have to consider the darker aspects of the real world on their doorstep.

However, by educating our local communities we can reduce the fear and prejudice, the hostility and aggression against the homeless and the marginalised. But most importantly, we can challenge and overturn the public’s perception, thereby recruiting them in the fight to end homelessness.

Lisa Lewis, Chief Executive, Doorway Wiltshire Ltd

This article was first published in Homeless Link‘s CONNECT Magazine Issue 46, July 2012 as part of their “21 Visions 1 Debate” article on ending homelessness.

It was also published by Homeless Link on Twitter as a part of their blog on World Homeless Day – 10th October 2012

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About Lisa @ doorway

Lisa Lewis, Chief Executive of Doorway.
This entry was posted in Alcohol, Benefits, Charity, Chippenham, Drugs, Football, Homelessness, Mental Health, News, Wiltshire and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We’ve got to directly challenge public perceptions of homelessness….

  1. Just to let you know we are starting a fund that is attached to our company that 25% of our profits from our gold members will go straight into the Genie Home Swap Homeless Fund. In the cold months all across the UK we will be calling across the communities for volunteers as our customers will be social housing tenants (like myself) to help give out much needed supplies at safe meeting points twice a week. This is to build bridges between the communities and the homeless, To help them makes connections again back in society and have support within friends. But also to gain much needed supplies like thermals and gloves, medi kits shoes and such like. I think I can help you please contact me and its lovely to have come across a blog from like minded people x

  2. Its going to be a cold winter and the homeless problem is going to get worse. I have spent time on the streets and know first hand what it was like when I was a teen. I cant run a company and take take take. It shouldn’t be done that way. I hope you agree 🙂

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