Since 2003, The Footpath Library have been offering friendship, food, hot drinks and good books to people who are homeless on the streets, in shelters and in social housing. In the course of their work the Library has discovered just how many people experiencing homelessness struggle with reading and writing.
“I dropped out of school in Year 7 so I haven’t
had much schooling. Then being on the streets and going from house to house you
don’t learn very much. Just what you learn from other people.”
“I left halfway through Year 10. I didn’t even
finish my Year 10 exams. I did the half-yearly but didn’t complete my
certificate so I found it really hard to get into work.”
“I didn't really start reading until I was an adult. I read the pictures in MAD magazines and stuff like that.”
“I always have trouble with forms. Everything you've got to do nowadays is filling out forms.”
We are supporting the great work of the The Footpath Library by taking adult literacy help to the streets. If you are homeless, low literacy makes life even more difficult. It's harder to access the services you need, to manage your health, find stable work and housing, or lose yourself in a book.
Our Footpath Literacy specialist will work with people experiencing homelessness to develop the reading, writing and numeracy skills they need.
Accessing reading and writing help as an adult is not straightforward. Services are over-stretched and many adults with low literacy are ashamed and reluctant to return to anything like a classroom.
Being able to read and write as an adult makes a tangible and lasting difference. It gives people hope and confidence, empowering them to take a more active role in their own lives and in their communities. It makes for a fairer Australia.