There’s a stigma surrounding most hostels, as the place where failures go, young people living off the state, being anti-social etc. This of course is nonsense. Yes, many hostels, house young people that couldn’t put their best foot forward before life got in the way. What these young people require is encouragement, not prejudice.
But I don’t want to talk about the why’s and how’s of young people going into hostels, each case and character is unique and often harrowing. No, I’m not to talk about this, I’m to scream as loud as I can for as long as necessary to see that this particular sector of society doesn’t become another failure of “Broken Britain”. I don’t want residents of these hostels having their voices smothered any longer by the bureaucracy surrounding the internal systems of supported housing. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a position where society itself looks down on you and the figures you’re supposed to trust do also. That is the case for many people living in supported housing.
There are many ‘hidden issues’ within hostels I can list many however the most concerning as of yet, is the real life application of the complaints procedure. It is a particularly nasty loop-hole in which concerned residents find themselves trapped in and spat out, after very little progress is made. Staff misconduct is a particularly worrying and sticky issue; staff abuse a loop-hole in the complaints procedure that encourages “internal handling” of complaints until the complainant is satisfied. This makes it rather difficult to have a complaint ever reach the ‘higher ups’ after the staff shamelessly discourage residents from going further, to protect their own authority, I assume.
There is a crippling problem whereas staff deliberately target, victimise and intimidate residents who stand up when they feel they’ve being wronged. When the frustrating swings and roundabouts that is the complaints procedure fails to be sufficient, these residents are humiliated and made examples of by repeated talks with staff in an office cordoned off from fellow residents. Even experiencing the threat of tenancy and if issues regarding staff conduct are discussed in communal areas, they would be promptly shut down. It leaves vulnerable youths, helpless as staff are encouraged to handle affairs on the lowest levels. The resident’s are powerless, with the fear of being homeless looming if they try anything; it’s a vicious cycle that allow the staff to protect they’re own.
But I’ve already said it, young people in hostels didn’t get the right start, they didn’t get the opportunities to develop a voice, to train a voice, to shout until they’re heard. Therefore I will tell everyone I can, if a single voice can’t impact on an organisation that claims to “help young people”, then behind the propaganda represses their concerns, then I will draw in other voices until I have a chorus pointed at them. Until they listen to us.