Service provision for the homeless is extremely complicated and fraught with frustration. A myriad of services are on offer but access to each is governed by factors outside many people’s control. These include access to state benefits, local authority connections and immigration status amongst others. Such is the level of complexity that identifying the services available requires considerable persistence and motivation to do effectively.
For many people though, it is not just the identification of an accessible service at the time of need that is important. The realities of getting what you want or need are much more subtle and it is often only the homeless themselves that have the knowledge required. From identifying the library where someone can get more than 30 mins on the public computers to recommending one specific night shelter over another for safety and cleanliness, this is the information that can be the most valuable to the most vulnerable.
Not only does homelessness exacerbate already existing problems, but it rapidly creates new ones too. Mental and physical health is most at risk as isolation, fear and anxiety rapidly chip away at even the hardiest of defences. Worsening their situation, apathy often takes hold in the face of the huge task ahead, reducing the likelihood still further that an individual will make the right choices to improve their situation. Staying active, engaged and mentally stimulated is hard work and their isolation from the world inhabited by the rest of us means that they miss or feel excluded from many opportunities to do just that.