latest boardroom guests

06 March 2013 04:05
v St Mirren

Dundee Survival Group are the latest visitors to Dens Park under the Community Initiative. For over 30 years, DSG provide a service to homeless people living in and around Dundee, not just providing a place to stay, but also vital support services. Dundee FC Supporters’ Society spoke with Morag Maich about the work of DSG, and the services they provide.‘From its’ inception in 1982 our aim at Dundee Survival Group has been to aid the rehabilitation and resettlement of the single homeless in Dundee and its environs. We are committed to helping all single homeless people regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion or of any other opinion.’ ‘Although our clientele has changed since 1982 it is still often the most vulnerable in society who we house at DSG. Oftentimes the provision of accommodation is not enough to make sure people can conquer homelessness. Homelessness is often a symptom of complex needs including addictions, mental health, and relationship breakdown. Many of our service users present with significant issues and often particularly challenging behaviours. Many have problems with subsance misuse, mental health, social problems and physical disabilities although not all do. Many homeless people carry with them the distressing experiences they have suffered which led to their homelessness in the first place. Often homelessness is combined with high levels of poverty and poor health.’‘At DSG we help by providing temporary supported accommodationThe accommodation is self-contained, fully furnished flats and furnished single bedrooms. Service users who reside in our bedroom accommodation are provided with 3 meals a day, a residents’ TV lounge, tea and coffee and laundry facilities. Some of these service users require a high level of assistance from our support workers but not all. Service users housed in flats are usually more independent and as such are expected to budget, shop and cook for themselves and maintain the flat in a tenable condition. These service users can and do come from all walks of life. We provide support to all residents by trained and qualified support workers. All service users are allocated a key worker when they arrive and they will receive practical and emotional aid and assistance from that person throughout their stay.’ ‘DSG works alongside many other services, both statutory and voluntary including social work, local drug and alcohol projects, training projects, voluntary projects and local council projects. Service users who are not in employment or studying have the opportunity to and are encouraged to attend various training and voluntary schemes. We have a private medical room which is used by the “Health and Homeless Outreach Team” which visits us every month. We regularly run AA and NA meetings and invite a variety of agencies along to offer help and support to our service users.’ ‘There are many negative consequences as a result of homelessness. Poor physical and emotional health is often at the top of the list. Homeless people often encounter a lot of health issues in their lives. Their health gets worse from time to time because they lack attention from doctors, friends and family members. People who are living “rough” encounter further problems such as cold injury, abuse, assault and nutritional deficiencies.

The general public usually have misconceptions about homeless people. These misconceptions are oftentimes based on inaccurate information presented by the media or anecdotal evidence. However the homeless population in Dundee is as varied as the reasons why people become homeless. According to recent Scottish Government statistics the main reason for homelessness is the result of a relationship breakdown. This may mean the paternal relationship, a marriage or life partner or a friendship. The largest group of people who are homeless are single adults without resident children, aged between 25 -35. Some may have been living rough for a while; others may have been recently released from prison or hospital; they may have recently left the armed forces; some become homeless because they are escaping violence in their homes and others due to relocation for employment reasons. Not all homeless people have issues with substance misuse and they are not all in receipt of benefits. They do not live with us for free and are expected to pay rent and a service charge.’


 ‘People who use our service usually have very little or no belongings beyond clothing and some personal items. We can provide all they need whilst they are residing with us (in both bedroom and flat accommodation) such as beds, bedding, sofa, cooker, fridge, carpets and kitchen utensils. We receive no government funding for this. All these items are either purchased through funds raised or are donated by companies or members of the public. We keep costs down through buying reconditioned items or by trawling recycling sites which offer items free. Despite this the cost o

f replacing items is increasing. We are always in need of good quality furnishings and working white goods as well as toiletries and warm clothing.’


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 Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to welcome Dundee Survival Group to Dens Park, and would once again urgeour supporters to take some time to catch up with another local charity doing fantastic work to help the homeless in the Dundee area.

Source: Dundee Mad