Homelessness and need
Homelessness and need

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Homelessness and need

8 Comment on the audio clips

In the cases of John and Danny, few, if any, of needs were being satisfied. Both were unemployed and, despite some assistance from Social Security, neither was economically secure. Neither of them had protective housing. Both were reliant on public toilets for clean water and, by and large, on charity to obtain nutritious food. Neither had ready access to appropriate health care, and both relied on the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital for medical treatment. John certainly did not have a secure childhood, or much of a basic education. Neither of them had experienced significant primary relationships. Both were vulnerable to violence and abuse on the streets.

Perhaps you found the question of how these needs might be satisfied more difficult to address. Both men were dependent on alcohol, and spent any money they had on drink. Some would argue that they were therefore unworthy of support. They would have had difficulties in sustaining a tenancy without a great deal of support.

The situations of Paul and Ernest were somewhat different. Both were in a form of protective housing, because they had an address. Both were entitled to Social Security, albeit that Ernest's has been halved because he was deemed to be intentionally unemployed. They were also able to access primary health care services, and in particular to register with a GP. The relationships they had formed, largely through the Cyrenians, gave them some sense of security and self-esteem.

Did you note the importance Paul placed on his experience? He saw himself as an expert, and felt he could use this expertise to help others. Also note how their accounts demonstrate so clearly that homelessness is not just about the lack of a roof, but homelessness. Ernest likened the hostel to a family and was afraid to leave the security it gave him.

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