The cup of homelessness runneth over, even in the first world. In 2015, there were just under 30,000 homeless applications filed in England alone. Of those filed, just 49% were approved for assistance. And those numbers are not even an accurate representation of the homelessness problem, as it is estimated that up to 62% of single homeless people are not represented in official figures; also known as “hidden homelessness.”
Amy Varle is an extraordinary woman on a mission to discover sustainable solutions to homelessness response and prevention. For the past several years she has been working on a project in East Manchester to refurbish studios for placing those who are homeless or in rough sleeping situations.
Called the Social Property Investment, Amy’s organisation focuses on rehabilitation, 1-on-1 assistance, and empowerment workshops. Alongside a much larger system of support services, the goal is to supply those in need with the tools necessary for improving their quality of life, increasing employment opportunities, and helping them move on to bigger and better things. Ultimately it is hoped that the success of this model can be replicated across the country and the globe.
In recognition of her tireless dedication, Amy has recently been aided in her quest with a Winston Churchill Fellowship that will send her on a six-week tour around the United States to study their inventive approaches to social housing. Three weeks spent in the New York/Washington DC area and three weeks spent in San Francisco will allow her to connect with and learn from some of the U.S.’ most innovative social enterprise leaders.
Amy has been preparing a study which will allow her to observe and investigate the U.S. response to homelessness at all levels, from on-street homeless services to shadowing of social enterprise founders; some of the best and most creative in the world. It is her goal to visit and connect with organisations like HELP USA, Art Lifting SF, Project Homeless Connect SF, Breaking Ground NY, and HandUp.
Through learning from and brainstorming with these ground-breaking projects and their people, Amy will return with her research findings to hit the ground running with People’s Property Shop. She is also dedicated to contributing her newfound education to the Manchester Coalition for Relief for the Homeless, the National Housing Federation, and the Official HMO Group.
Amy plans to make this experience a win-win-win for all involved, and the benefits that will be brought forth from this international exchange of ideas and research will serve to further assist in the eradication and prevention of displacement, homelessness, and rough sleeping.
Since she will be in the US within a few months time, Amy is looking to connect with people in New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco who are willing to assist her in her campaign.
In true Amy fashion, her goal is to lend a hand to as many displaced peoples along the way as she can. Both in the form of short-term help (such as socks and shoes, coffee and food, a safe place to sleep for the night) and in the long term (by offering advice and referrals to outreach organisations.)
She has the support of her community back home, but any additional support from those who can assist Amy in her cause is greatly appreciated. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @MissAmyVarle. Much love and many thanks. And in the words of Margaret Meade, “Never believe that a few people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
SEO Web Marketing are delighted to support Amy, along with other organisations close to our hearts who we help pro bono with their digital marketing and social media campaigns.