23 October, 2007

Modernising Hostels

Homelessness itself has it's pitfalls falls but getting out of the cycle of homelessness once you are off the streets also has it's down falls like, no move on for sometime, not being given any kind of incentive to come off the dole simply because it's easier to let the government keep on paying the high cost of living in a hostel. Ho do you make hostels more inviting and self supporting? After all the public want a system of hostels that do not burden the tax payer more than usual. my idea would be to take people off the streets as we are doing now and have a period of what i call assessment, a getting to know the needs of the client. Then a contract between the hostel and the client could be made to improve the quality of life in the hostel and this doesn't mean job search. it means cooking and budgeting classes or learning skills like reading or writing so when their move on comes they are ready to deal with the fact that they now have to cope on their own. If you think about it homeless people lose the skills they learned to use years ago because there is only the need to survive. What I would also like to see is self supporting hostels where the guest do the work like cleaning and cooking in the hostel and some becoming members of staff themselves but to get there money has to be put into the system and it has to be used more on hostels that do work or use new initiatives. Then you have a hard core of homeless people that have spent the years on the street and these are the most difficult to work with as they recent not being able to live on the streets or they maybe anti rules. We have to find a way of balancing things so we can show them their are other ways to live. we have to get rid of the saying you can take a horse to water but you cant make it drink. Things have to be inviting after all you wouldn't want to live in a place that was run down and scary would you?


Anonymous said...

hi jamie,I think you will find the idea of a guest working in a hostel,would not work for many reasons,benefits at risk being one.
and also hasnt the idea been around once before, they were called workhouses,not hostels..
im not workshy,just homeless like you once were,and just trying to find my way back to a normal life..
hostels are scary places ,full of drinkers, and other problems..
and as a mid thirties woman, i do not wish to stay in such places..
its my life, my choice,

Claire Gibb said...

I think the self supporting hostel Idea would work to a point. But I feel primarily that many people who live in hostels have chaotic lifestyles..and getting them to commit to some kind of 'job rota' would be difficult...and could imagine...'appointments, meetings and no shows' being given as excuses as to why the 'work' does not get done..so possibly...whoever was cooking..didn't show..so no one got fed..or it was late and someone else had to do it instead..causing possible friction..and upset. Same goes for cleaning...in Principal..getting volunteers from hostel residents..to willingly participate in the running of the hostel whereby they could get experience doing office duties for example..as well as before mentioned cooking/cleaning tasks...and any other duties..activies..etc..could be beneficial for future career prospect and also add structure to what sometimes is a very non-structured day/week/month..Other beneifts could be seeing a job through to the end, building relationships with other staff members paid and voluntary... Just a thought..just came across this page today..will read some more..keep writing....

Claire ( former street/hostel Homeless Glasgow and London)