As many people will already know, homelessness is a huge problem in Manchester.
Walking the streets, at any time of day, produces a feeling of pity and despair as you notice just how many bedraggled people are begging for spare change.
Of course, we call them ‘homeless’, but the reality goes much deeper than that.
If we look beyond expedient labels, we will understand that these people are not only ‘homeless’, but in trapped in a cycle of poverty, disconnected from their community, possibly suffering from critical mental health problems, and are in dire need of support.
That’s where Street Support comes in. I’m volunteering for this tiny organisation in an effort to tackle some of the problems I see every day in the centre of Manchester.
When you get involved more deeply in organisations like Street Support, you start to see that there is actually a lot of work and energy going into tackling these urgent problems. Trouble is, it’s all going on behind the scenes.
Progress is also slow, but that’s not for lack of trying. There’s institutional apathy and resistance against funding services for the most vulnerable members of society.
The excuse of ‘austerity’ is held up as a shield against criticism for the neglect of people who are most in need of mental health services, community care and public housing (all of which have been cut, and are still being cut).
What we need to do
That’s why I’m so passionate about volunteering for organisations like Street Support, which offers support to frontline services for homeless people by connecting them with resources. Their aim is coordination of the existing efforts to make it easier for people who are homeless to get the help they need.
More than that, Street Support is a compassionate initiative formed by the community (founded by Viv Slack) in response to the woefully slow government reaction to the rising problem of homelessness.
I believe that by promoting the work of Street Support (in my capacity as Volunteer Communications Manager) we can eventually effect policy change.
By demonstrating how committed the public are to supporting people in need of a home, emotional support, and re-integration into society, we can impact the current status quo for the better.
Email me at email@example.com if you’d like to help promote the work of Street Support through content creation.