When we have been homeless we have this churning inside to help other people as soon as we are in recovery. We deal with that feeling by helping others with stuff. It’s a double edge sword – but a positive sword whereby by reporting on stuff we are informing the public and impacting service delivery by offering advice to homeless services. It’s a process that in turn helps us because we gain confidence and self-belief as well as learning stuff.
The fact our views are being published on a good looking website gives our work more credibility. People are more likely to engage with it and not just dismiss it as another article by a ‘homeless person’. The images we use purposefully buck the trend of tramp in a shop doorway. If an article is published in the Guardian people are more likely to read it and I know the microsite isn’t the Guardian but because it is a professional looking space it gives credence to our work so that people read it and notice it and take it seriously.
Also we have the backing of an organisation – in this case Groundswell and On Our Radar and that makes people take notice. We learn different skills. People sometimes talk about us like we are sub species, even when they mean well or when they are talking about someone who has been in recovery for years. This project helps correct that impression.