We knew some elements of this process wouldn't be easy but it seems we've still underestimated the size of the task in terms of hoping to educate people about what it means to be homeless and who is vulnerable. We have spoken to two different student groups so far and the notion of being "homeless" is seen as "house less" and that you must be a rough sleeper. This is perhaps understandable but the conversations and responses to the survey clearly suggest that many still put the blame on the person who is homeless and see them as "other." 
Maybe this is something that we as people have a tendency to do - see ourselves as detached from situations and people we don't understand. In fact, "I don't understand" seems to be a common thread: 
"I don't understand how you can't have anywhere to live."
"I don't understand why you can't just stay with family."
"I don't understand why you can't just get a job and move in somewhere else."

Is this just about education? It seems that there is a definite learned attitude from some people.  Older students delivered their opinion in stronger terms whereas younger students seemed surprised by the information they were given at Action Homeless and far more understanding of the different and difficult circumstances those going through homelessness can face. 

The visit to a children in care centre also proved challenging in terms of their vulnerability to homelessness and how some have already experienced it and in certain cases, expect it. There is also a hardness and a resolve that seems forged in continually facing up to challenges and situations that it is hard to accept are part of every day reality for children who have not even taken their first exams. 

The sharing of stories and just listening - listening to all groups and all people - has been educational and occasionally emotional. We spoke to residents at Action Homeless and talked about what the project will be doing and all the ways they could get involved. The range of response went from the eager and open about what they have done before to the sceptical and keen to hide. The idea of an "exhibition" at one point went from very ambitious to slightly ridiculous and then...and then stories and listening and tea and talking and people getting to know people took over and a list grew of people want to experiment with music or creative writing, of people wanting to try photography or film, of people hinting they might like to try some art work. Home Truths might be challenging but the challenges are already being accepted and that is surely a good start for anyone, in any situation?

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