Homelessness is the most extreme example of social exclusion in modern Western societies. Homeless people not only lack access to a stable housing. They also lack access to other basic needs, recognized as human rights, such as health services, employment or even a reasonably proper nutrition. Life on the streets is a constant struggle to find food and a safe place to spend the night. And, if this was not enough, homeless people are often subject to mockery, violence and exploitation. Those trying to get out of homelessness face multiple difficulties and barriers and have no one to turn to. Although it is a heterogeneous collective there are frequent common factors, like an untreated mental illness, an addiction, illegal status accompanied by low level of education or major language issues.
Organizations working in the field know only too well that winning and maintaining the trust of a homeless person- especially if she has been in this situation for an extended period of time- is one of the most difficult steps. At the same time, is critical to the effectiveness of the intervention process. It is very frequent that these people reject any offer of help addressed at their social inclusion going beyond small gestures, such as might be handing out cash to satisfy their immediate needs.
There is a latent need for innovative methods to conduct interventions, helping to establish relationships of trust between the ones offering help and the ones who need it, leading to a better communication and understanding between the parties involved and, ultimately, contributing to more people overcoming the problem of homelessness.
Accommodating a travelling life (ATL) project is framed within the need of offering innovative and effective solutions to persons who find themselves living in the street. With this project, we will help organizations working in the field to conduct more effective interventions with persons living in the street by involving persons with first-hand experience in the intervention process. For that purpose, ATL introduces the figure of Journey Certified Supporters (JCS)- mutual support agents with lived experience of homelessness, advanced in their process of re-integration and trained in the ATL methodology.
ATL project will design a tailor made training model built on the principles of peer support methodology. It will provide training to both professionals and experts by experience to prepare the latter to become Journey Certified Supporters. Comprehensive information and a set of effective training tools will help the future JCS to give value to their life experience and use it to help homeless people to get out of the situation of extreme vulnerability and social exclusion. On the other hand, the ATL training program for professionals will prepare the latter to offer tailored support and conduct interventions in coordination with the JCSs.
ATL methodology will incorporate the Restorative Justice approach with the objective of contributing to the reestablishment of family and friendship ties and thus favoring re-integration. It will address the recovery of homeless people from a respectful, unconditional approach, based on listening and dialogue, which does not judge or criticize.
Provide the professionals with intervention models offering tailor made solutions to challenges and individual needs of homeless people.
Offer persons with first-hand experience of homelessness quality training, to grow personally and help others, without denying their past.
Create sustainable jobs for persons with a lived experience of homelessness.
Facilitate reinforcing social links within the community, an essential step towards sustainable reintegration.
This section is dedicated to the ATL project newsletters
Enjoy the reading!