the warm /&/the cold project
Bury Housing Concern Nov 14 2012
As part of our ongoing project with homeless people, we've conducted many mini-interviews with homeless people, which are fascinating and moving accounts of difficult lives. We've also been in contact with many carers, support workers and helpers at the drop-ins and centres we've visited. One such is a volunteer helper at 'The Red Door' drop-in, known more officially as Bury Housing Concern.
Homelessness happens to anyone, any age. Mainly it follows family or relationship breakdown, that's the main one. The big problem.
We try to help people with the situation they're immediately in, whatever level of urgency it is. Have they just come in wanting a shoulder to cry on? Have they just become homeless? Do they need a bit of TLC or are there deeper problems? We work our way up the ladder, starting with what they think they need. Then we go on up. A lot of people don't understand their rights and their needs. Usually I get the tears, my job is listening. They come to me with a story and I'll ask what help they need.
As somebody who has been homeless myself, I always tell them my story and then we compare notes. We end up chatting and I find out what they need - and I tell them the rest, their rights and so on. It can be very emotional.
I get a lot of kisses and cuddles in this job.
I think you need to be a good listener; they don't need advice ramming down their throats. Someone might've come in here for months, then one day they'll say: 'We need to talk and they'll break down in tears - and we'll talk properly.
I love doing this work, the job satisfaction is so big.