Relationships matter in the fight against homelessness

Posted by    Andrea on    October 5, 2017

“A home is not just a house, it’s a set of relationships in a community where you have trust.”

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson Simon Community.

This week is Simon Week which is an annual awareness of homelessness week. Coincidentally our ABLE training tailored for workers in the homeless sector commenced on Monday the 2nd of October. This training aims to enhance the development of professional practice and improve outcomes for service users.

 ABLE training supports practitioners in two distinct ways. Firstly by exploring evidence based knowledge and the theoretical background of how childhood experiences impact on adults and their ability to form and maintain relationships. Secondly the Training  equips practitioners to use a brief intervention model ‘ABLE’ to engage with  and respond to service users when they are struggling to cope. The model aims to boundary the encounter within the limits of the frontine workers role and competence, and also to empower the service user, building the capacity and resilience of both.

The programme also focuses on practitioner wellbeing and self-care. This includes using the ABLE model for peer support which can help mitigate against depersonalisation and burnout, which is an issue. One participant at the end of the training day commented on how ‘apt’ our training is for people working in this sector.

Yesterday morning on the Cork Simon Twitter there was a very clear insight given into what outreach workers in this sector are doing on a daily basis as they “threw open the doors” to allow the public to have a look at the work that goes on in the service.

Relationships are often the pathway into homelessness. In a longitudinal study of 40 homeless young people in Ireland, Mayock and Corr (2013) reported that:

“Breakdown of family relationships and a history of State care emerged as the two dominant experiences associated with young people becoming homeless”

It can also be the pathway out of homelessness as most homeless people who have moved on from homelessness cite someone who mattered to them made the difference. If you have a moment to check out the Cork Simon Community’s Twitter, Facebook or Website, please do as we continuously strive for better outcomes for those who find themselves homeless.



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