Tackling homelessness: Every little bit of business expertise helps

Blog written by Sue Keogh, Director, Sookio

Being based on Mill Road in Cambridge means every day we see up close the complex problems faced by so many people in the local community – mental health issues, addiction, rough sleeping – and we wanted to do something practical which would reach the people we saw every day, so we set up a regular donation to Jimmy’s homeless shelter round the corner.

Then when Chris from ITAC saw mention of Jimmy’s on our website, he got in touch to see if we could offer support to the initiative, and we were, of course, keen to get involved in a more substantial way.

The thing that struck me when I went to the first summit was that I initially felt a bit out of place. I don’t know anything about housing or initiatives to help with youth homelessness; I’m a digital marketing agency founder, what is there that I could do to help? The scale of the problem feels overwhelming and you feel a bit ineffective in the face of it all.

But I’ve come to realise that everyone’s skills are useful. If everyone does a little bit, then together it has quite an impact. Not everyone has to be an expert on everything! So for me, I’ve been part of the Digital Inclusion Group and newly formed Business Group.

We wanted to celebrate the launch of Street Support Cambridge, so we offered to put together a podcast (see below) recorded at the event and with Rachel afterwards. Making sure the voices of people with lived experience are heard is critical to the success of It Takes A City, so we also interviewed Lee Welham so he could share his insights too.

We may not know anything about housing policy, but we can create a nice piece of shareable content that helps promote the initiative more widely, which in turn generates more awareness, more revenue, and more support given to the people who need it. So it turns out our skills have come in handy after all!

Street Support visual podcast from Sookio on Vimeo.