StreetWise – the story so far

The title of this entry reads like a prelude to a saga.  But unlike the Icelanders or the Norsemen, we don’t have any stories of gods or goddesses, nor fantastic creatures, feats of astounding bravery and adventures into foreign lands.  We aren’t quite at the saga stage, yet. Though sometimes it feels like that.

Over the last 9 months, what we have drawn out of a single idea, is a fully formed, ready-to-roll structure; a bouncing 9lb new born organisation with a system that is geared to facilitate a self-driven route out of homelessness.

It’s beyond being new-born now and is hauling itself up at the bars of its playpen, eyeing the toy box on the other side of the room.  The one with start-up funding in it.  We are still trying to find the key to the padlock, so Junior has to stay in the playpen for now.

In the meantime, we are coming into contact with some great folks who want to either donate their time, expertise, advice, and in some cases future careers to StreetWise.

Tonight Dave is out in Manchester with a crew who are making a documentary about the lack of provision for homeless veterans.  Involved in the making of the documentary is Mike Hookem, MEP for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire, a veteran Royal Engineers Commando and Patrick Chrystis of, which runs features under the banner of the Homes 4 Heroes charity.  They aim to film in London, Leeds and Manchester where they will be out on the streets, talking to homeless veterans.

One of the aims of making the documentary is to draw attention to the poor provision under the Armed Forces Covenant.  The Covenant is an undertaking by the government and local authorities to ensure fair provision for veterans and their families but its delivery has been fraught with inconsistency and it hasn’t lived up to its potential.

Our own experience has, unfortunately, been negative.  We have made attempts to try and apply for proportional funding under the Covenant as, in line with the proportion of veterans in the population, we expect approximately 10% of our SPPs to be homeless veterans.  Our attempts to follow the guidelines and go through the process through Manchester City Council have been met by what can only be described as an epic fail.

It has to be acknowledged, though, that the growth in the number of charities with a focus on helping military veterans has been unprecedented, so it is easy to imagine how oversubscribed the scheme must be.  Still, it seems to be working for someone, at least.



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