Wisdom 3 of 7 – A good life is being part of the local community

“We are all human. We can’t be living isolated away from community.”

It is clear that a good life was, for these respondents, something that did not exist in isolation from the wider world. One of the most commonly mentioned themes was the importance of being a part of the local community and the need to have people you can rely on. Many also emphasised their own desire to give back.

However, people described a wide variety of barriers to community integration. The physical and social isolation of living in homelessness accommodation and relying on local foodbanks and charities, combined with language barriers, the inability to work or go to school, and a lack of legal residency could make this particularly difficult. One person described the isolation of not having legal residency:

“I had to be really low level [under the radar]. I couldn’t form close relationships as you didn’t want them to report you.”

Another described how not having residency status prevented her from being able to trust others:

“Without papers, being a woman is not very secure. There are lots of risks. People can take advantage very easily … There is no chance that someone will help me. My experience is that, not having any money, if I ask for help, they take advantage, as they think that I can’t call the police. So many times I forget and ask people for help, but people take advantage of me.”

Additional challenges could be faced by those with limited or no English, for whom the ability to make meaningful connections could be particularly difficult. One person described their joy in being able to connect with other people who spoke the same language:

“We have each other here, thanks God.”