Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Multi-faith engagements within support work

Support work has always been close to my heart, having volunteered and worked for a number of different organisations, I appear to have fallen into a trade which thankfully I have always enjoyed from day dot.
Support work within the homeless sector differs from support work with the elderly or the disabled, as support is provided to a distinct subset of individuals with varying support needs asides from the obvious housing related ones.
However despite being a specialist role with several different knowledge bases needed to fully support a client, support work has yet to be developed into a discipline in its own right. An academic has yet to develop theories around the topic, a standardised support tool has yet to be used amongst all homeless services, a truly holistic and person centred approach to support work has yet to be developed and a benchmark of good practise has yet to be highlighted.
Having said that, mentoring and befriending itself stands as an alternative to support work, by acting as a person-centred approach to supporting current and ex rough sleepers into a life of normality with the aim of developing mutually beneficial relationships.
Support through multiculturalism

This year the Project would like to specifically extend its hand of opportunity out to multi-faith volunteers and clients alike. Winter Night Shelters tend to be church based, however their service users are multi-faith and from all walks of life. By being extrovertly inclusive, we aim to create a personalised approach to support, where those of different faiths can have a mentor or befriender they can fully relate to. We also aim to develop an integrated approach to the project where volunteers and clients of different faiths can also be matched in order to promote an alternative and multicultural learning experience of mutual benefits.
By facilitating dialogue and engagement with others from diverse cultural and faith backgrounds, the project provides an understanding space and a functional support network for ex-rough sleepers to explore their support needs and work towards achieving pre-set goals; in particular by encouraging interactions between culture, faith and homelessness.
The rising cost of living coupled with the welfare reforms has led to a marked increase in episodes of homelessness. Such conditions are not gendered, racialised, faith-based or even place-based, most people will access one form of welfare benefit or another at one point in their lives, and it is no doubt that all people living in Great Britain will have to deal with rising food and fuel costs.
If you would like more information about Housing Justice’s Mentoring and Befriending project, or would like to refer yourself a client to the Project, please contact Arooj Khan on 07827947016 or

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