How listening to the real experts changes lives
There is much to be gained by giving the people who truly know what’s best for service users the chance to take control – our service users themselves.
We believe that people affected by homelessness have the ability to change their own lives. Time for Change at Shelter Scotland is centred on the involvement of those with lived experience. It allows our service users to identify the issues they faced and explore changes to improve the experience of people in similar situations.
When we first met Paul, he’d been homeless for two years and was struggling with mental health issues after years of heroin addiction. He was missing his children and had posted on social media, looking for help to get a job so he could find a home and see them more regularly.
Lisa, who works for Time for Change Dundee, was tagged four times on Paul’s post – which led to the pair meeting at our Dundee hub.
Lisa helped Paul complete all the necessary housing applications – but having been discriminated against as a former drug user, we stayed with Paul throughout the whole process to make sure he was treated fairly.
What does ‘better’ look like?
Paul’s application was accepted, but he was very apprehensive about living in a hostel. So he became more involved with Time for Change while he waited for secure, permanent accommodation.
He volunteered on our outreach programme and attended our meetings. He shared his experiences and helped us to explore the question of ‘what does better look like?’ – not just for him, but also for others facing similar challenges.
Knowing he was involved in Shelter Scotland activities throughout the day meant Paul could cope with living in the hostel. And within weeks, he was offered a secure social tenancy. He now sees his children regularly, volunteers with us as a peer advocacy volunteer, and has signed up to do his National Standards Qualifications in Housing Law.
Paul finally has some stability in his life and by helping others, he is also helping himself – proving that the homelessness cycle can be broken.
If you’d like to provide this type of support and new opportunities for people like Paul, please use your donation form, call 0300 330 1234, or visit our website. Thank you.