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Healing art

July 01 2020

Geraldine Crimmins is a mentor at Café Art which now runs art workshops online. She has lived experience of homelessness. Q&A by our writer McGinlay (before lockdown)

Q: How does homelessness affect people?

Homelessness has a variety of impacts on your health, physical and mental. I found that PTSD and anxiety disorders are very common and often undiagnosed as you get used to being on high alert all the time and having a heightened sense of anxiety. Having limited or no access to healthcare, sleep deprivation and fear of theft, assault or bullying can lead to clinical depression which will affect your ability to access outreach teams or homeless projects.

Q: Is it worth going back for help when nothing seems to be happening?

Keeping in touch with outreach teams or support workers will give you a feeling of consistency and keep you connected with support. It can open any new opportunities if and when they arise. Keep any appointments with support workers, even if you feel that nothing is happening, as it will keep you in the system and on the list for support.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is starting to be independent again?

Go to the same food handouts and develop a relationship with them, it helps to see a friendly face that you know.

  • Join art and photography workshops online
  • Get support for PTSD at
  • Find free food/hot meals via foodbanks, mutual aid and religious groups.

Art box: During lockdown Accumulate sent out more than 500 art kits to vulnerable young people living in 31 different hostels/emergency accommodation across London. Each art box had a themed project inside with instructions and all the materials needed. Challenges included felted postcards; an architectural commission to turn an everyday object into a building and a collage project.
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