Listening to the streets

Homelessness is a growing problem. As house prices sore, rent increases and Government support becomes scarce, more and more people are finding themselves without a roof over their head. This often leaves local authorities picking up the pieces - an expensive task made harder by the dwindling stock of social housing.

But a helping hand can, sometimes, become a hindrance. There are plenty of stories out there of people who have become trapped in what Pat McArdle, chief executive of homelessness charity Mayday Trust, describes as the ‘homeless industry’, an inhumane system that perpetuates the problem it aims to solve.

Mayday Trust,  a small, Midlands-based organisation, argues it offers a new approach, one that breaks the vicious circle of homelessness. Back in 2012, the charity carried out a complete rethink of their process. They provided accommodation and support to people who found themselves on the streets, but they wished to do more.

The Trust decided a good starting point was to go out onto those very streets to talk to the people who would be most affected by their work: the homeless. This ended up being, in Ms McArdle’s words, a ‘powerful piece of work’. It revealed gaping holes in the system and prompted them to overhaul their own approach

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