Family Homelessness INNformation Series: Social Inclusion
Part 5 of our Family Homelessness INNformation Series explores the topic of social inclusion. Over the past two week’s we got to hear the important insights from industry experts on the topic.
Background on Social Inclusion
United Nations defines social inclusion as: “the process of improving the terms of participation in society, particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights.”
Social inclusion is an important entity to ending child and family homelessness because it breaks the stigma surrounding homelessness. Social inclusion allows families experiencing homelessness to be supported and welcomed despite their current economic and traumatic situations. By adopting social inclusivity into our everyday actions, we are creating a more accepting and forgiving society allowing families and individuals experiencing homelessness move from crisis back to the mainstream community.
Social inclusion in practice
The Housing First philosophy exemplifies this philosophy by explaining that the integration of individuals with complex needs in our community is an effective model for addressing homelessness.  By integrating individuals into mainstream communities you are instilling confidence and responsibility into individuals and families, effectively promoting social integration and assisting on the path from homelessness to independence. An important element of most housing programs is the social inclusion element. These are things such as community involvement, peer supports, volunteerism, neighborhood watch, involvement in the arts and more. These programs create community relationships that are dual benefitting for the individuals and for the community. This idea boils down to the sociological principle that we as individuals have a need for human connection, allowing us to feel as though we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. This is an important element of our Journey House Model, read more on Journey House HERE.
Homelessness creates feelings of social isolation.  The lives of families experiencing homelessness are restricted to the areas where they can receive assistance and by the rules of the shelters or service providers, they are utilizing. This is why the promotion of social inclusion in the care we provide is critical in the care we provide to families experiencing homelessness. Social inclusivity creates a sense of normalcy and belonging which promotes healing and stability. These two elements are critical to families (specifically the children we serve) transitioning from crisis back to the mainstream community.
Stay tuned for a guest blog from Randy Malkoski, Team Lead of Journey House coming next Monday!
Catch up on our Family Homelessness INNformation Series HERE.