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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Streetmate - a website for the homeless

May 22 2009
Find out online what your options are for education and jobs, and discover your legal rights Launching this month is a site called Streetmate, which places homeless concerns as its main priority. The site offers options for education and jobs and provides them with up-to-the-minute knowledge on all their legal rights. Streetmate's creator, Glenn Heaton, trained as a lawyer and so he knows his stuff. He currently works within homeless organisations, giving legal advice in various capacities. Realising there were multiple issues involved with homelessness, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, ex-offenders and the minefield area of benefits, he decided a website that was not only a database listing hostels and services but one that provided information about people's rights, monthly job information, and educational services was much needed. Mr Heaton said: "It struck me last year that nearly all homeless websites are either there simply to publicise an organisation's own services or are really just for the use of professionals working in the industry. There is very little there for homeless people themselves." Working from his home in Brighton with the help of a friend who was a web designer, Mr Heaton has worked for nearly a year to provide all the content for the site. "The site has 'tips' and 'frequently asked questions' based on the sort of things I've been asked about over the years," he said. He has received no government funding towards his project, but Mr Heaton said this meant there would be no restrictions on what the website says. "It is not a political website, but at least no one is breathing down my neck as to what has to go on to it," he said. "I wanted it to have good navigability, be easy to access and user-friendly. I'm looking forward to seeing what the response is to it and to get feedback from the users. The internet is an invaluable source for the homeless community and I will welcome their future input so that I can keep improving on it."
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