Muhammad and Ivan
Mohammad and Ivan - For Mohammad, the Soup Kitchen and other services for the homeless, help develop a sense of community and belonging amongst service-users.
'After all we're all in the same boat. (Street people) form their own bonds and try to support each other in any way they can.'
When asked about the stereotype that streeties "choose" to live on the streets, Mohammad remarks:
'There's a form of misplacement in society. Some people encounter more barriers or difficulties in their lives which they struggle to overcome.'
These barriers, often beyond an individual's control, can take a variety of forms. Difficult circumstances like domestic violence, dysfunctional relationships, or mental health issues can make a person feel isolated and estranged from family, friends, co-workers or society as a whole. In other cases, a single tragic event, like the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, can trigger a downward spiral of joblessness, debt, loneliness and social marginalisation, where living on the street becomes "the choice".
'Coupled with limited help and support, and lacking the tools to enable them to deal with their individual circumstances, people then hide behind alcohol and drugs to avoid their problems.'
'Often their choices are very limited. For example, they can either live on the street or be abused by their family. What would you choose?'