Changing perceptions of homelessness and work for World Homeless Day

INSP marked World Homeless Day this week by exploring ways to boost employment for people who are vulnerably housed or without a home.

World Homeless Day takes place across the world on 10 October each year. This year, in partnership with homelessness charity Crisis, INSP hosted a networking event to change perceptions around homelessness and employability.

Nota Bene's luggage porters, The Big Issue Australia's Women's Subscription Scheme & StreetWise's jobs programme provide more employment in addition to selling street papers.

INSP Operations Manager Zoe Greenfield told the group of employers and support organisations about the street paper model – explaining that street papers provide employment to thousands of people facing homelessness and employment.

“Each of our vendors buys their street papers and then sells them on to make a profit – in this way, they are all micro-entrepreneurs,” she added.

Zoe also talked about several projects run by street papers, all of which give vendors further employment opportunities.

Speaking after the event, she added: “We were delighted to share stories from around our network to mark World Homeless Day.

“From individual success stories, like that of former StreetWise vendor Don, to innovative employment projects including Nota Bene’s luggage porters and The Big Issue Australia’s Women’s Subscription Enterprise, street papers added an international flavour to the event.”

Crisis member Clark, INSP's Zoe Greenfield, Crisis's Ann Landels & Jonny Kinross, CEO of The Grassmarket Community Project, John Loughton and Zakia Moulaoui

Crisis Learning Manager Simon Ashpool said the event had been a great motivator: “I was inspired by the work that other organisations are doing in Edinburgh and throughout the world, as were the audience.”

“Moving forward, we need to see how we can engage with a wider range of employers to maximise the opportunities for homeless people to gain and sustain employment,” he added.

Speaking at the event, Crisis member Clark – who has faced homelessness and is now an advocate for the charity – gave a powerful firsthand account of the impact of their work.

“I put in four job applications, got four interviews and was offered four jobs,” he said, to great applause.

Other speakers at the gathering included John Gibson, Business Development Manager at Edinburgh shopping centre Fort Kinnaird; founder of Invisible Edinburgh Zakia Moulaoui; and John Loughton, CEO of Dare2Lead.

Zakia talked about setting up the city tour company Invisible Edinburgh. The project was inspired by Greek street paper Shedia‘s tours in Athens, and as in Greece, all of the tour guides have experienced homelessness.

“We all know and understand that different people have different skills and talents,” she said. “But I feel that sometimes people don’t realise that the same also applies to homeless people.”

After launching earlier this year, Invisible Edinburgh is so successful that they are looking into launching tours in Glasgow next year.