Homelessness is often misunderstood. It’s not a ‘cute’ cause, so it’s hard to feel empathy for something most of us are fortunate enough never to have endured. Homelessness is not suffered through choice – everyone is vulnerable.
In order to become homeless, a person has to have suffered a personal crisis. Once alone and vulnerable, the slide into a vicious downward spiral is inevitable and traumatic, bring with it a state of hopelessness most of us have never experienced. From these depths it is hard either to remember or imagine life as the rest of us know it, let alone engage positively with society.
Common reasons why people become homeless include:
- Family breakdown
- Leaving institutional living (army, police, social care, prison)
- Mental illness
- Childhood abuse / domestic violence
- Substance abuse (the underlying cause of which is often one or more of the above)
The word ‘home’ conjures feelings of warmth, family, friendship and love. To be homeless is to be alone, with no one to care about you. Tackling homelessness is not just about providing shelter from the elements, it is about providing advice, advocacy, education and meaningful occupation, but above all, care within a community that can be called ‘home’.
SHIP works with the local community to promote projects that benefit all who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It’s part of our commitment to the entire housing continuum.