(un)entitled.

This is a project called (un)entitled. Unentitled is a feeling – a response to layers upon layers of difficulty and barriers placed before us. We are a group of community reporters who have all experienced homelessness. We are frequently told we are not entitled to support, not entitled to housing, not entitled to health care, not entitled to safety, not entitled to be ourselves. We face stigma as a routine element in our lives.
These are our stories.

A Safe Place to Call Home

Kwaku’s Story

Kwaku fled from Ghana to the UK to seek asylum because of his sexuality. His application has been going on for over two years. Throughout this time, he has been unable to work, living in Home Office accommodation. But despite his struggles, he has found a new family and community in the West Midlands.

Staying Afloat

Denise’s Story

After her whole world turned upside down a number of years ago, Denise found herself homeless. Experiencing loss after loss, she spiralled into addiction. In this film she shares her journey of recovering from rock bottom, reflecting on the inner resilience that helped her keep going, and just how difficult it is to rebuild a life.

A Poem About Stigma

By Shift

'Am I all the different parts of everyone else
Can you truly see Me
I am only that of the perception of the other
Incapable of accepting me as anything else'

The Cycle

TJ’s Story

In this film, TJ reflects on the tough start he had in life and how he ended up falling into a cycle of prisons and hostels, finding it impossible to rebuild. He also addresses the stigma around trauma, mental health and addiction, and the impossible situation many people find themselves in when they are desperate for help.

Scar Tissue

Mahesh’s Story

Mahesh reflects on how he first became aware of stigma when he was on the streets, and the alienating feeling of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Many years on, he likens it to scar tissue - ‘sensitive to touch, never healing.’

From Pillar to Post

JR’s Story

Gypsies and travellers’ way of life is under threat. In 2022, a new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act increased police powers to fine, arrest, imprison and seize the vehicles of people living on roadside camps. With very few legal stopping places, and only a handful of overcrowded permanent sites, many are left with nowhere to go. But JR has founded an organisation that is fighting back.

Brick Wall

Charlie’s Story

Words are powerful. In this audio recording, Charlie shares his thoughts on feelings of entitlement, and the behaviour that comes as a result. He reflects on how we use words, and the effects they can have - both positive and negative - in different environments.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

A poem by John

In this poem John brings a message of hope and humanity, challenging us all to 'see and support the whole person' in order to build the compassion and empathy needed to overcome stigma.

Together we can Listen Up to acts of stigma.

Together we can Speak Up to raise awareness of what is happening.

Together we can demonstrate solidarity with those who are told they are unentitled.

Here are some actions we can, together, take to begin to turn the tide against stigma:

Everyone

We need you to:

  • Share these stories
  • Add your own story in the comments
  • Educate yourself on what we are all entitled to – see Groundswell’s homeless health resources
  • Speak up and hold people to account when you see stigma being perpetuated
  • Ask your local parliamentary candidates and policymakers (MPs, councillors, mayors) to watch these videos and fight the policies that stigmatise people

Because:

  • We all perpetuate and experience stigma
  • Shame and hiding our experiences create self-stigma
  • With the right policy change we can fix the system and give everyone a chance to succeed

Mainstream Media

We need you to:

  • Know that people have the right to tell their own stories, in their own time. Share power and tell stories 'with' rather than 'about' communities with lived experience
  • Actively avoid using harmful stereotypes in media reporting. See Crisis’ Framing Toolkit for more guidance

Because:

  • Stigma and stereotypes are perpetuated in the media
  • You can reach more people and influence policy

Services (NHS, local authorities, housing providers)

We need you to:

  • Show these videos and our suggested discussion points in your staff training
  • Notice when stigma is perpetuated at work and reflect with your colleagues when it happens

Because:

  • You are where we turn for help
  • How you treat people can make or break those who turn to you


9 thoughts on “(un)Entitled

  1. Each story different but very much the same, powerful way to show Stigma, Discrimination and the need to treat people as individuals.
    Fabulous reports, poems and stories

  2. Such powerful and moving experiences! Really highlights the importance of communities and people with lived experience sharing and coproducing!

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