Research commissioned by Thames Reach has found that social exclusion and institutionalisation do not prevent homeless people from valuing intimacy, friendships and family connections.
Entitled Dreams Deferred after the poem by Langston Hughes, the report was launched on 18th October 2002. It provides a comprehensive study into the social networks of homeless people.
Contrary to perceptions, homeless people are often in contact with family members, usually siblings and grandparents. The people questioned said they wanted help to make new friends and re-establish ties with family.
The report recommends using family mediation to prevent relationship breakdown, the most commonly cited cause of homelessness. Continued contact with friends and family once somebody has found a home also helps to prevent individuals from depending on street culture and returning to homelessness.
Thames Reach Chief Executive Jeremy Swain said: “This valuable report clearly illustrates the high priority given by homeless people to rebuilding and strengthening their social networks. The message from them to organisations working with homeless people is clear – make this an essential part of the service you offer.”
Dreams Deferred is a piece of collaborative research with Alone in London, St Basil's and Thames Reach. It was undertaken by Lemos and Crane, and is available for free from the Lemos and Crane website by filling in their contact form.