Each year, tens of thousands are made to face the prospect of homelessness by substance abuse, unemployment, domestic violence, and mental health problems. Rendered invisible by social exclusion, many fade into anonymity and vulnerability, all the more frustrating when help exists – funding and awareness allowing, that is.
Homed is a project that aims to raise awareness of homelessness, and to involve healthcare students in helping the homeless via various activities, primarily fundraising. Here in Aberdeen, we are associated with Medsin Aberdeen, and a relatively new project - but having started from a membership of approximately one (yes, one!) passionate individual to a steady group of 15 and counting, all in the space of a year.
Our branch works closely with the Cyrenians, a charity that supports the homeless in Aberdeen by providing opportunities for resettlement and rehabilitation. Currently, our Homed members run a soup kitchen (the Street Alternatives project) on alternate Sundays at the Cyrenians, and are also involved in various Cyrenians fundraising activities. Most recently, we participated in the Sleep Out, sleeping rough for a night to experience homelessness (in a limited way), and to raise funds/ sponsorship to support the homeless in our community.
Activities planned for the year ahead: beyond bag packing at supermarkets to raise funds as well as awareness, we hope to meet more immediate needs via clothes and food drives to tide them over the winter months, as well as Christmas boxes to bring some Christmas cheer. Also in the works are documentary screenings and talks by GPs specializing in providing healthcare for the homeless, to educate students about the problems surrounding homelessness, and what we can do to help.
Much more remains to be explored and done in supporting the homeless, and in becoming a force for social change. For now, although it has been around for some time, Homed may still be rather novel to some. This is because it isn’t officially affiliated to Medsin – something many in Medsin are keen to change. We hope to have more branches involved in Homed, and working together to share ideas and experiences.
Thus, if you are a Homed branch, we would love for you to let us know of your existence. We are also hoping to have a national coordinator for Homed to bring all these branches together, as this would allow us to re-affiliate as a Medsin Activity… So if you have a passion for serving the homeless, and big ideas for the future, we would love to have you on board! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re keen to apply!