A home in the Community
And when things go wrong, it’s good to have work. It’s good to have money. It’s good to have skills. But it’s the connections we have that keep us going. If you have people around you that you can rely on, you can turn to them for help. If you don’t have that support network, even a tiny mistake can mean you fall really far.
It’s important to have a roof over your head. It’s important to know how to cook, how to pay your bills, how to reduce your debt, how to get to doctor’s appointments, all these vital skills. But if you learn how to build safe relationships and who and how to reach out for help, the rest becomes a lot more manageable.
So much of what Cyrenians does is about giving people the space and stable base they need to make the most of the abilities they already have, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the Communities (in my opinion – I'm obviously biased). Just by building a space where people can feel the ground settle under them, where they have a stable place to live, support to turn to, and their basic needs met, we get to watch their skills and confidence grow.
It takes time to relearn how to build positive relationships. But something that’s fantastic about the Communities is that it isn’t just our staff team offering support. Residents and volunteers support each other, and as they learn new skills, they share what they’ve learnt with each other and grow as a community.
The more you have positive, supportive relationships in your life, the easier it is to build more. The more you’re trusted to make your own decisions in ways that work for you and your community, the more you learn how to do that. The more confident you are that support is there when you need it, the less likely you are to need it. Generally, we’ll see less and less of people the longer they’re with us, as they get more able to cope on their own, and of course, at some point they’ll move on to a more permanent home.
But people come back – and not just to get help. More often, people come back because they want to put back into their community, even though they’re settled in their own permanent homes. They come back to cook meals, help organise outings and events, and to offer a listening ear and supportive presence to newer residents.
As Cyrenians have said a lot, it takes more than a roof over your head to make a home. And trusted relationships, a community you can turn to, and the confidence to ask for help when you need it, is what really forms the foundation of a lasting, stable home. Homelessness is a deep, systemic issue in Scotland, but for everybody who can use the space and support we offer to build that foundation of community, we’re chipping away a bit more at those cycles of homelessness.