Experiencing homelessness is so much more than just not having a home and accessing homelessness services.
People sleeping rough on our streets face many difficulties that are both a cause and consequence of their situation. Often, these issues can lead to other problems in the long-term.
This includes issues related to poor health, employment struggles, navigating benefits support and so much more.
Dealing with poor health (physical and mental)
For those facing homelessness, the harsh reality of street life can take a toll on both physical and mental wellbeing.
Being exposed to the elements and lacking access to healthcare can lead to various health problems. The instability of living conditions intensifies mental health challenges, often resulting in cycles of depression, anxiety and more.
Recognising these health struggles as a society is crucial in addressing the broader issue of homelessness;we’ll never tackle one without facing the other.
Employment and seeking benefits support
Finding a job is an enormous challenge for those experiencing homelessness.
Not being able to provide a permanent address creates a significant barrier, as employers often require a stable living situation.
Additionally, the lack of safe places to keep up with personal hygiene and maintain a professional appearance further hinders their chances of employment. This highlights the urgent need for the comprehensive support we aim to provide.
Because of this, people often rely on the benefits system. This can also be difficult. The bureaucratic processes, combined with challenges in obtaining necessary documentation without a permanent address, create many obstacles.
We provide guidance and support to empower people when facing these barriers, but this takes time, so people might be forced into sleeping on the streets for longer.
Finding suitable support
While a lot of support services exist, many aren’t accessible or suitabile for those with complex needs.
Tailored support services, including mental health counselling and skills training, are essential for breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Due to this, The Connection always offers support to people on a personal level. We are guided by people’s experiences, needs and goals first and will always work with people in a way that feels safe to them.
There’s so much more to learn
To make a real difference, our society must be aware of the complex challenges faced by those sleeping rough. Understanding the complexities of poor health, employment barriers, and the intricacies of benefits support could be the first step towards creating meaningful change.
But it’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and many other factors, such as identity, domestic abuse or immigration status, could all be affecting people sleeping rough differently and extending their time of the streets.