My Streets Ireland
January 30, 2019
In your own words, tell us about your project.
My Streets is an accessible education and employment programme which empowers people who are homeless to become walking tour guides of ‘their’ streets and tell ‘their’ story. My Streets engages homeless trainees on a three month programme based around storytelling/confidence, creative writing and tour guiding skills delivered by professional trainers. My Streets offers all graduates employment opportunities as a tour guide based on their own experience of place thereby also offering tourists a unique tourism experience. In addition the programme connects all graduates with further education and employment opportunities through a variety of partners and professional collaborators. My Streets has been in operation since 2014, has trained 37 homeless individuals to date and provided a unique tourism product to c.10,000 customers. Over 50% of My Streets trainees have gone on to secure employment and/or positive accommodation outcomes to date. My Streets is currently operational in Co. Louth and Co. Dublin and aims to expand to a number of additional locations over the next twelve months.
Why did you do this work?
Figures available from the ‘Census of Population 2016’ offered a stark call to action- of the 2,016 homeless persons defined as being within the labour force, 69.2% were unemployed compared to the 12.9% of the general population. The disparity in these figures (along with gaps in education, addiction and mental health figures) was one of two motivating factors behind My Streets. The second reason My Streets was established is to give a direct voice and accessible opportunity to people who are, or have been, homeless.
What was the impact or outcome of your project?
My Streets has engaged 37 people who are, or have been, homeless on it's training programme and provided unique tours to 10,000 customers to date. The programme has developed a curriculum specifically designed for people who are homeless and has achieved positive education and/or employment outcomes- over 50% of trainees have graduated from the programme into further employment and/or education. My Streets has also been successful in attracting media coverage and moving the dial on a conversation about homelessness. Finally, due to it's success as a commercial tourism offering My Streets has been able to drive footfall towards locally owned business and breathe new life into old communities.
Do you have any tips or advice for similar projects?
Always remember your purpose-the problem you set out to solve- and never stray from it. Involve the community or the group you seek to benefit in defining your vision and revisit this frequently. Create a sense of co-ownership and delegate wisely and according to peoples skill sets. Keep it simple. Take time to enjoy your important work!
Which Sustainable Development Goals does your work link to?
Location of Project
Louth and Dublin