10 of 10: Having control

“Imagine suffering years of abuse and then being forced to live with men you don’t know. What would you do?”

Many people we spoke to said that past experience of abuse and trauma meant they didn’t feel comfortable in supported accommodation. Others said that they felt that they had to share their traumatic experiences to prove that they were worthy of accommodation.

The women we spoke to on the streets had particular concerns about hostels, especially about sharing a space with men, who they thought would be excessively drinking, taking drugs and causing trouble. Many experienced abuse in the past and they did not feel they could live with men they didn’t know.

People found homeless service applications unnecessarily complex and invasive. They felt they had to describe all of their traumatic life experiences in order to evidence that they were ‘worthy’ of a safe roof over their heads. In some cases, people felt they had been perceived as a ‘scrounger’, ‘loser’ and ‘feckless’ by others, especially by those in positions of power, who were making decisions about their accommodation.

Mayday’s Response

Mayday aims to give maximum power and control available to each person. To achieve this we are starting to adapt the culture of our organisation; the language, systems, processes, staffing profiles and training. Task Teams have been established to listen to the people living with us, research and develop internal transformative change.

Mayday is also pursuing a local influencing and advocacy role to promote real world and personalised responses to local housing decision.