Helping the poor

There is a great article in this morning’s Telegraph by Ian Birrell on helping the homeless and the poor. It’s based on a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study  that looked at helping some of the hardest homelessness cases. Instead of dictating to those on the streets what they needed to do – they asked them. The success in this small study have been spectacular – costing, on average, under £1,000 per person they took 13 of the most difficult cases and 11 of them are now not living on the streets.

The rehabilitation of these people is wonderful. It also goes to show that if you truly listen to what people need rather than just the “experts” how spectacular the results can be.

It is also the case that it reminded me of what we are trying to do with the RUSH project, where we are trying to help Andrew and Lucy transform a community. They are very conscious of the need, not to make people dependent, but to help people acquire the skills and resources to stand on their own feet.

I think that this article has important pointers towards ensuring that we aren’t patronising or pretend that we know how to do everything when we try to help people.

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