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The Lived Experience Project
The aim of the project would be to create easily accessible resources that are available to the migrant / homeless living and working community. Hopefully in the form of a website or webpage that can be updated / printed from and have new content uploaded on a regular basis.
These resources will be developed predominantly from ‘Lived Experience’ Groups as well as from advice taken from specialists in both the migrant and homelessness field. Doing the above would have in mind offering better sign-posting and more understanding about the ever changing world of policy, people's statuses and the rise in clients with NRPF or irregular status. It would also offer easily accessible lived advice to those that are new to rough sleeping and hopefully encourage earlier intervention to take place, as well as encourage more cooperation across the charity sector.
The Lived Experience Project would run alongside the Community Engagement Work that Street Legal currently undertakes.
The project would revolve around the idea of service users being one of the most knowledgeable sources when it comes to surviving rough sleeping and seeking early intervention (usually having learned from past mistakes) - having experienced the reality of sleeping rough and everything else that comes part and parcel with that.
The idea would be to create several resources (and update them), predominantly taken from lived experience groups, across a varying demographic, which could then be shared and made available to the wider community and used to educate the public and organisations on the more human reality of rough sleeping and irregular status. These could take the form of booklets, toolkits, printable resource sheets, easily accessible sign posting advice and the creation of a workshop ran by service users or previous service users themselves, educating people about homelessness, NRPF and irregular status.
From previous courses and toolkit sessions I have attended I have learned that many resources are out of date when it comes to who offers what, meaning that they are no longer relevant to some service user bases. There is also a gap when it comes to their accessibility.
The surge in NRPF clients has meant that sign posting and the above issues for homeless migrants with irregular status have become less simple, as many aren’t able to access services that are open to others and there isn’t a resource list where everything is available from one place. Equally many services, as I have been told first hand from advice workers / project workers, are feeling frustrated at a lack of clear guidance about issues like NRPF that are on the increase. Also, some services for UK / EU citizens only don’t always have readily available advice or sign-posting to give to someone due to being unqualified and stretched, which can result in bad advice (although with kind intention) being given.
Alongside the creation of more work based or advice based resources there is also scope to get creative and make some podcasts and put out a blog / some case studies, so there is also narrative feel to the project, showing how far people have come or have the potential to come with the right support and correct information.
The amount given would pay for one person to hold the sessions one day a week for several hours and for the other half of the day collect and start to piece together the information gathered. The person in question would be able to recruit some volunteers and the money granted would also cover the costs of the production of some resource materials / service user travel expenses.