Lived Experience

Engaging with People who have been Homeless

Our first battle in ending homelessness is realizing people who experience homelessness are human. Someone who is unhoused in your community is your neighbor.

At NCH, we focus our policies and programs on lifting up the voices of people who have been or are currently experiencing homelessness. We understand these to be the true experts on the issues and solutions surrounding the decades long political failure of homelessness. NCH works hand-in-hand with grassroots organizers and organizations, trains and employs advocates who have been homeless, and takes direction from the voices of those who have been most impacted by the lack of a permanent home.

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90 %

of the staff at NCH has personal experience with homelessness

Engaging for the First Time With Folks Who are Homeless

The only chance we have for truly ending homelessness lies in the expertise and leadership of those who have been impacted most by the experience of homelessness. With so many negative stereotypes of people who experience homelessness, many housed folks look for support in approaching people who are currently or formerly homeless. Remember, we all are human, and wish to be treated with dignity and respect.

As we listen to those who have experienced homelessness, we must remember that all stories are sacred, but re-telling them can be re-traumatizing for people with lived experience of homelessness. For this reason, those of us who educate, serve, and advocate for people who are unhoused need to provide safe spaces for folks to share their stories.

Organizations offering direct services and programs that benefit unhoused people (or those at risk), should encourage staff and volunteers to listen to the feedback of people receiving assistance. Effectiveness of care is optimized when the perspectives and views of people with lived experience area sought after and considered – a partnership in growth.

Anyone can be homeless. We are most effective when we help folks achieve what they want, or access what they need. Homelessness is traumatic. We must provide both trauma-informed care, and trauma-informed advocacy. Get tips on how to engage with people who are or have been homeless.

Lived Experience