“Before I became homeless, I used to love playing guitar and going to gigs. Funnily enough, I still do.”
People told us that the only times they ever mentioned their hobbies or interests were on application forms and these were rarely or never discussed or followed up. There was limited opportunity to discuss what they had been good at in the past, what they really enjoyed and what their abilities and talents were.
The focus wasn’t on exploring who they were and what they could build on or aspired to be. Most had no day to day evidence of personal achievement or success. Their predominant experience was of failing. The focus on goals aimed at ‘ fixing’ problems meant that often, they didn’t manage to sustain coming off drugs or keep up with their commitments. Motivation crashed because they felt trapped in a system that told them they failed.
We took action
We stopped asking people about their needs. We ensured that every conversation mirrored the conversations we had outside of work when meeting people for the first time. We made a genuine effort to explore what people were good at, their interests and tried to find their ‘spark’. Once we found it, we went out and matched them with real world opportunities outside of the homelessness sector. We didn’t focus on people giving up alcohol but finding activities that they enjoyed and could develop so they wanted to reduce their drinking.
The PTS builds on people’s strengths and interests so they are inspired to change and motivated to develop them. Positive hard outcomes are naturally achieved and sustained as a result.