“I have no friends, my family aren’t allowed to see me, I don’t have a job, I don’t have money. I’m staying in my room looking at four walls. This isn’t living.”
As identified in the first Wisdoms, ‘Wisdom from the Street’*, relationships, connections and relational approaches are hugely important but complicated and personal to each of the people we spoke to.
What people told us on this subject varied; some wanted to get away from other ‘vulnerable’ people, whilst others benefitted from making friends. What was clear is that the majority of connections were driven by a need to survive, to avoid being a target and to stay safe, rather than genuine friendship.
Some people felt isolated and cut off from family and friends when housed out of their known area and in unfamiliar surroundings. In this situation gaining accommodation became a barrier between people and their support network, which had the potential to make their situation worse.
Mayday recommends moving to smaller numbers of people sharing accommodation and where possible providing single-occupancy units. In bigger schemes people are introduced to their immediate neighbours, but communal activities are kept to a minimum as people are encouraged to socialise outside their accommodation and in the local community.