Marissa McMahon, Crisis Scotland, slaying the dragon, equality can't wait
Project Organiser, Marissa Mc Mahon and Equality Can’t Wait (ECW) resident Elenor Mulligan attended an event held by Crisis Scotland- ‘Slaying the Dragon’, an event which examined the various tactics and strategies that groups throughout the UK were using to address homelessness and best practice for collaborative learning.  As part of the event Marissa and Elenor presented two workshops; the first on the ECW campaign and a second on how to apply a human rights based approach in addressing homelessness and ongoing social housing shortages. 


In attendance were groups from Glasgow and Edinburgh discussing their personal experiences of homelessness as well as the various ways in which they have tried to help themselves and others in similar situations.  Throughout the event there was a very healthy debate around the types of temporary accommodation which the state are obliged to provide homeless people, for example there was a stark difference between the hostel culture here in the North of Ireland and how it compares to the B&B situation in Edinburgh.  Evan, from the group ‘Homelessness Today’, gave an account of the dire daily living in a B&B and how this has been her life for almost two years- staying in a small room with no cooking or washing facilities!


Almost all of the groups in attendance at the event discussed the impact of the benefit cap and in particular how this impacted on their rent payments.   Speaking specifically about this was a group of young mums from Edinburgh (All About Me). Members from 'All About Me' gave accounts of their personal experiences of forced evictions from a tower block after their benefits were capped and they could no longer afford to live there.  They also gave a short presentation on Mary Barbour who organised and led thousands of women during the Rent Strike in 1915 in Govan, Glasgow,


There was also presentations from ‘Share: Learning for Democracy’, who facilitated a workshop by Guerrilla Pedagogue which discussed social issues of housing and homelessness at an individual, local, national and global level.  Shelter-Scotland also gave a workshop titled ‘What does better look like’ which was a peer led project on how young people can influence change in the homelessness issue.  Glasgow Homelessness Network were also presenting on how best to support people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness to develop practical life skills to help them stabilise their circumstances, and sustain their tenancies.


There was a lot of interest in PPR’s approach and a lot of feedback from the event organiser, Will Golding, on how best to share our human rights based approach for future collaborative learning.


Below are some links from the event: