With One Voice has been developing a theoretical model to communicate the importance of the arts in the support of people who have experienced homelessness: The Jigsaw of Homeless Support.
In many countries around the world, support tends to be hierarchical and linear - you start by helping people with their most urgent needs (housing, food, healthcare) and once that is in place, other needs are addressed such as employment/training and, eventually arts and sports. While this ‘Maslovian’ theory is sound on one level, it misses many of the root causes of homelessness until much further down the line - including the trauma people face leading to low well-being and social isolation. This results in many people receiving accommodation and moving back to the streets since other needs haven’t been addressed.
We believe that a much more diverse range of support should be available to everyone right at the beginning of their journey into homelessness - an interlocking ‘jigsaw’ of support where the benefits of the arts (building well-being, self-expression, social inclusion, positive public awareness and positive identity) are available alongside other services from day one.
The arts will not solve homelessness but we argue that the inclusion of the arts in homelessness policy will create a much deeper and more effective homelessness support structure.
We are delighted to report that the Jigsaw has been included in Manchester City Council's Homelessness Strategy, the first civic homelessness strategy to include the arts.
Thank you to all those who so generously gave feedback for the Jigsaw model.
Infographic designed by Data Design Studios