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Engaging with Homeless People by Mind Map: Engaging with Homeless
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Engaging with Homeless People



Homeless people highlighting apathy gets in the way of volunteering (See Link: page 50), Develop volunteering opportunities where homeless people can see an 'end product' (See link: pages 17 & 21), Groups of hostel residents meeting to help each other set individual goals (See link: page 52)

Over half of homeless people wish to put something back into community and helping those less fortunate (See link: page 48), Homeless people are also keen to work with an agency that helps homeless people (See link: page 10), (Also see link: page 6)

Homeless people seek opportunities to gain skills and do something interesting (See link: page 48), (Also see link: page 6)

Roles with no room for development were found to be less rewarding (See link: page 27)


Not wanting to work for free (See link: page 49)

Concerned about being taken for granted or given low status tasks (See link: page 27), Providing supervision for volunteers and involving them in team meetings (See link: page 32), Giving volunteers the opportunity to develop projects (See link: pages 6 and 10)

Homeless people are keen to develop their confidence (See link: page 48)

33% of homeless people identified their own lack of confidence as a barrier to volunteering (See link: page 12), Providing meaningful activity develops confidence building (See link: page 51), Providing clarity around the volunteering role and tasks (See link: page 25), Volunteers being made to feel welcome. Attention to 'small things' and with people taking the time to show them around (See link: page 24), Provision of training to carry out a new volunteering role well (See link: page 23)

Concern that they would be taking someone else's job (See link: page 49)

30% of homeless people identified their personal appearance as a barrier to volunteering (See link: page 12)


Homeless people happy to volunteer to meet new people, and all consider this to happen in reality (See link: pages 5 and 7), Providing induction activities in groups (See link: page 11)


37% of homeless people identified the stigma of being homeless as a barrier to volunteering (See link: page 12), Nearly all volunteers living in hostels or temporary housing feel able to disclose their background to volunteer-involving organisations (See link: page 20)

21% of homeless people would only consider volunteering if their lives became more stable (See link: page 5)

A third of homeless people indicated they did not feel well enough to volunteer (See link: page 49)

Fear about benefits being stopped (See link: page 49), Provide written guidance for homeless people on volunteering, police checks and benefits etc. (See link: pages 12-14)


27% of homeless people identified having no fixed contact address as a barrier to volunteering (See link: page 12)

Concerned they would have to pay their expenses or reimburse for travel (See link: page 51), (Also see link: page 34)

Contribution - high interest stakeholders

High influence

Sponsors, Establish a cross-department working group to support the programme (See link: page 7), Using key projects to build partnerships with other organisations (See link: page 52), Organisations should only take on what fits within their aims and ethos (See link: page 25)

Blockers, Homeless organisations can have a policy of refusing homeless people to volunteer in their organisation due to confidentiality and boundaries (See link: page 13), (Also, see link: page 22), Promoting the practices and benefits of other sectors that involve clients as volunteers and peer volunteers (See link: page 22), Emphasis by funders on the importance of service-user involvement (See link: page 5), 23% of homeless people would like to volunteer for an external agency (See link: page 10), Running homeless services and a partnership between clients and staff (See link: page 51), Staff concerns about how homeless volunteers are to be supported (See link: page 6), Establish a cross-department working group to support the programme and clarify the roles of key staff (See link: page 7), Ensure those responsible for supporting homeless volunteers are well supported/trained (See link: page 16)

Low influence

Beneficiaries, Successful volunteering experiences for homeless people enhances word-of-mouth' volunteer recruitment (See link: page 11), Developing projects for homeless volunteers to transform resources for the benefit of the community (See link: page 53)

Victims, Volunteers can have bad experiences from staff who resent volunteers (See link: page 33), Current staff can struggle with a new requirement of having to work alongside/manage volunteers (See link: page 33), A bad experience from one organisation is likely to put homeless people off volunteering 'full stop' (See link: page 14), Volunteer centres providing more detailed support and advice around volunteering for homeless people (See link: page 10), Homeless volunteers not feeling trusted due to the stigma of being homeless (See link: page 21), Undertake research to review if stigma does stop mainstream organisations from involving homeless people (See link: page 17)

Contribution - low interest stakeholders

High Influence

Positive influencers, Monitor and evaluate homeless volunteering programmes and measure wider outcomes (See link: page 24), Organisations can be more than willing to take on homeless people as volunteers (See link:page 13), Liaise with prime-providers, job-centres, DWP etc. to promote volunteering as a valid alternative to paid work or education for homeless people (See Link: page 49)

Negative influencers, Problems within volunteer-involving organisations of the concept of homeless people volunteering (See link: page 13), Promote volunteering successes for homeless people in the wider voluntary and community sector (See link: page 13), Volunteering is not routinely suggested as an option for homeless people (See link: page 11), Opportunities for homelessness agencies to develop links with organisations that provide one-off volunteering opportunities (See link: page 12), There can be power imbalances when developing external partnerships (See link: page 18), Homeless agency staff have more important priorities to invest their limited resources in supporting their clients to volunteer (See link: page 5), Also see link: page 13), Develop partnerships with other organisations who can provide progression routes following a volunteering placement (See link: pages 7 & 24), Volunteer coordinators referred volunteers to formal providers to obtain support (See link: page 13), However, many volunteers would not accept help from more formal service providers (See link: page 13), Using other staff within the organisation to provide support (See link: page 13), Educate staff in homelessness agencies about the benefits of volunteering (See link: page 14), Volunteering makes homeless people feel better about themselves (See link: pages 6-7), Build links with other organisations to develop volunteering as an integral part of a pathway for homeless people (See link: pages 6, 7 & 13), Funders tend to view volunteering and a means to obtain employment, however 58% of homeless people do not view volunteering in that way (See link: page 6), Jobcentre Plus staff routinely advising people incorrectly that volunteering may affect welfare benefits (See link: pages 13 & 14), CRB checks taking a long time to come though results in volunteers losing interest (See link: page 49)

Low influence

Bystanders, Around half of young homeless people who signed up to volunteer did not attend their first session (See link: page 11), Providing the chance to visit the organisation before making a decision to volunteer for them (See link: page 13), Develop partnerships with key-workers (See link: page 9), A careful screening approach ensuring potential volunteers are aware of the project will reduce drop-out rates (See link: pages 11/12), Lack of buy-in from existing staff (See link: page 7), Persuading young homeless people that volunteering could be beneficial is difficult (See link: page 9), Involving volunteers with a homeless background to support the volunteer recruitment processes (See link: page 9), Develop links between homelessness agencies and volunteering brokerage agencies (See link: page 16), Easy to attract young homeless people to attend an event, but difficult to encourage regular attendance (See link: page 10), Develop short-term and one-off volunteering projects (See link: page 7), Many homeless people are disengaged from support agencies (See link: page 15)



Organisational, Working with volunteers with additional support needs challenges conventional ways of managing volunteers (See link: page 12), Recommended volunteer management guidelines (See link: pages 34-36), Make a distinction between support to help homeless people volunteer and that relating to their social exclusion (See link: page 13), For partnership projects, ensure effective working links with those working directly with homeless people [rather than just working with senior staff] (See link: page 8), Employing volunteer coordinators with experience of working with hard-to-reach volunteers (See link: page 6), Using other staff within the organisation to provide support [key workers] (See link: page 13), Pay more attention to the planning stage to identify potential support needs of homeless volunteers (See link: page 7), Being flexible about volunteering arrangements and offering breaks if required (See link: pages 15-16), Involving volunteers with a homeless background to assist with volunteer recruitment and ongoing volunteer support processes (See link: page 9 and 20), Homeless volunteers able to offer their time during the day could be a valuable resources to different departments (See link), Volunteer-involving organisations not always able to support homeless volunteers' progression needs (See link: page 6), 88% of homeless people are happy to take part in one-off volunteering opportunities (See link: page 11), Linking with support staff in homeless agencies (See link: page 14), Organisations only having specific time slots for volunteer interviews, which homeless volunteers did not make(See link: page 10), Homeless people found application procedures were too complicated and unnecessary [and application forms were too long] (See link: page 17), Interview procedures that are relaxed and informal (See link: page 18)

Individual, Some volunteers need to be asked to leave as their behaviour affected other homeless volunteers (See link: page 13), Homeless people not attending specific time slots for volunteer interviews (See link: page 10)


Organisational, Volunteer-involving organisations with limited experience of working with homeless volunteers (See link: page 6), Create an internal mentoring scheme, which naturally develops organisational knowledge (See link: page 14), Volunteer development agencies to develop resources supporting homeless people volunteering (See link: page 13), Little known in volunteer-involving organisations that 69% of homeless people who volunteer, started to volunteer after they had become homeless (See link: page 6), Problems caused by blurring of boundaries between professional and personal lives (See link: page 15), Protocols in place to clarify who volunteers could contact, and when (See link: page 15)

Individual, Problems caused by blurring of boundaries between professional and personal lives (See link: page 15), Protocols in place to clarify who volunteers could contact, and when (See link: page 15), Homeless people not seeing the right sort of volunteering opportunities (See link: page 5), An information resource for homeless people seeking to engage in volunteering (See link), Support provision that helps homeless people find worthwhile volunteering opportunities (See link: page 16), Providing all the information about volunteering on first contact (See link: page 12), Homeless people are unlikely to be connected to the 'word-of mouth' recruitment networks (See link: page 15), Making support workers more aware of the benefits of volunteering and how to signpost opportunities (See link: page 12)