A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend two full days in the presence of some passionate, dedicated and insightful people who I feel truly are making a difference to the lives of many.
Often the people they help are the ones we walk past in the city and don’t give a second thought to, they might be the people who we don’t even see or recognise as being ‘homeless’.
The conference really prompted me to think what can I personally do to help those experiencing homelessness?
As I pondered this I thought about all of the things I was sure I couldn’t do – I can’t give someone a home, nor can I feed everyone, I don’t have the skills required to provide the complex support someone might need and I can’t donate enough to help and organisation do all of this.
I must admit surrounded by all of these wonderful people who were actively making a difference I felt a little bit useless.
I voiced this to our chair for the conference Felicity Reynolds and she assured me that I could make a difference and use the skills I had. She encouraged me to use the contacts I have from producing other conferences such as Growing Affordable Housing and become active with housing organisations by joining committees and putting my skills to work.
She assured me that I would be contributing even if I wasn’t volunteering in a food van and that the issues contributing to homelessness are far more important to tackle such as affordable housing supply and addressing poverty issues, mental health and social exclusion. (If you are wondering why poverty causes homelessness)
I am grateful to Felicity for highlighting that we can look past what skills we don’t have and focus on what we do and what skills we can use to make a difference.
I know that many of us in the Criterion community have knowledge, skills and experiences in professions which we think can’t make a difference or can’t help end homelessness but as Felicity pointed out – we simply need to change our focus.