The Christmas homelessness charity adverts invite us to feel ashamed, compassionate and then to support their work combating rough sleeping. Many of us feel helpless, we don’t know anyone who is rough sleeping, but we want to help.
But what if we did know someone? What if someone in your company, football club, university, on the staff at your hospital, working in your canteen, in the post room, or on the management board was at risk of ending up on the streets. What should you do? What can you do?
Homeless people don’t materialise from nowhere. They could be sitting next to you right now.
Economically they could be sofa surfing to make ends meet, or two mortgage payments away from default. They could be having addiction problems, a functional addict at work, chaotic at home. At the higher management level mental health issues or addiction could be threatening them. They could be falling out with their parents. Or they could be having a child, facing divorce or worse, domestic violence or abuse.
Homeless people don’t appear from thin air. They are sat all around us silently looking over the precipice. You can see them if you look hard enough, we just have to look harder.
That is why every organisation and employer has a role in preventing homelessness. Because the homeless are sitting next to you now and you and your organisation can do something about it.
Find out what local government, health services, charities, companies and smart organisations are doing at Pathways from Homelessness on Monday 20th January hosted by Birmingham City Council, with national and local speakers and case studies.
Plus you can also take part at networking hubs in London or Manchester which will feature a live stream of the conference hosted by a local expert with an audience of your regional peers – try it out.