Friday, 4 February 2011

Rural Homelessness

A recent article in Inside Housing suggests that homeless acceptance has increased by 25% in rural areas.
Along with ‘sofa surfers’and ‘squatters, rural homelessness is often considered as another category of hidden homelessness. As with many inner city areas, poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as mental health issues, are associated with rural homelessness. However, rural services seem to have less funding and presence within the community than many of their urban counterparts. It therefore seems that many rural areas struggle to provide adequate support to the homeless clients.
Homeless Link have produced a document on service provision in rural areas which highlights many of the challenges facedIt also suggests ways services can improve and recommends looking at:

  • identifying specific needs that may differ in rural areas compared to more built up ones
  • how services can be accessed and if they are beneficial to service users and the community
  • whether particular services can work effectively in a rural area.
Having worked as an outreach worker in an urban environment I have limited knowledge of rural homelessness.  I would therefore be very grateful to learn what experience readers have had in rural areas and suggestions to improvthese services?

1 comment:

  1. Every now and then we come across rough sleepers new to our area, who are oblivious to the services available. I can only imagine that this must happen in very rural areas, except there are not necessarily any outreach teams to locate these people and assist them to access the support they require. Does this leave them to deteriorate or do they then natural migrate to larger communities and cities where they can access more services? For those that want to isolate themselves, I only hope that those around them can show some compassion and keep a watchful eye over them.