How can we think that offering a bed for the night to someone with maladaptive behaviour then kicking them out the next morning is helping them?
Michel Simard inspires us
We are redefining our approach to how to help people out of homelessness. If homelessness is characterized as an impasse from which one cannot escape on their own, then people at this impasse become entrenched in homelessness, they lose their sense of “being someone, somewhere.” What is at stake for people experiencing homelessness is their social being and the opportunity to have a life that goes beyond mere survival; the ability to project themselves into the future and build their own story they can live and tell. A story in which they play a part, have status, and their own place—in a nutshell to be “someone, somewhere.” All of this is at stake for the person experiencing homelessness.
Intervention must aim to give people back their sense of self and this is only possible through support services that are adapted to each individual. Support must be at the heart of every intervention—it is not just about getting people off the street, but providing the support so they can find their way out of homelessness. This support is based on a relationship with the person who is rebuilding their sense of self. The approach values and prioritises each person’s lived experience.
Putting housing at the centre of this approach is important because without a place to call your own, human life is not really possible. It is just survival. That is why housing solutions such as the Housing First approach are central to any intervention. The Housing First vision recognizes the importance of integrating and coordinating different housing strategies. Permanent housing is not seen as the solution to ending homelessness but as a central and crucial component in a more global strategy to help those people experiencing a critical disconnection from society.