Working with homeless people
A training manual
By Mike Seal

Several factors have resulted in a growing recognition of the importance of training for staff in the homeless field. Continuous professional development for staff is one of the key standards of Supporting People, the major funder of homeless services. The recent expansion of homeless services under Supporting People has also meant there are many new workers who need to develop appropriate knowledge and skills. There has also been a more general emphasis on quality management in our work and a recognition of the complexity of the task of resettlement.

Therefore this new training pack is a much-needed resource. While other manuals have covered specific groups within the homeless community, such as those who have suffered domestic violence or refugees, or specific issues such as mental health or drugs, this is the first time that training on aspects of the work that go across the spectrum of homeless people have been brought together in one place. There are three sections of the book which together attempt to cover: what we need to think about in setting up the training; exercises we can use in the training; and a series of suggested courses.

  • The first section examines the context of training including what a trainer is likely to encounter in terms of homelessness workers, their demographic make-up and possible expectations.
  • The second section offers exercises and activities on the spread of issues relevant to those working with homeless people, including overviews of the work, relationships with clients, structuring work, interventions with clients, management issues, working with other professionals and anti-discriminatory practice.
  • The final section provides material and structures for 8 different courses, depending on your participants' needs, including: a one day introduction; a 7-day comprehensive course; courses that cover the underpinning knowledge for NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Housing and Supporting Independance.

  • It is designed to be a resource for a variety of trainers, from local authority training departments to freelance consultants to volunteer co-ordinators. It has been written by Mike Seal who has been a front line worker, trainer and lecturer in the field for sixteen years. These exercises and courses have all been tried and tested over the years with over 50 homeless agencies and 2000 practitioners, and will continue to be so.

    A4 wiro. 232 pages. 978-1-903855-71-3. 2006. £39.95.


    Relevant to anyone in housing and work with homeless people. It is designed to be a resource for a variety of trainers, from local authority training departments to freelance consultants to volunteer co-ordinators. The training can be used in social work, prison/probation work, mental health work and substance abuse work. It is relevant for work with people of all ages.


    The Context

    Adult learning
    Conventions of training
    Types of exercises
    Planning the structure of the course
    Group dynamics
    The Exercises
    Overview and setting the scene
    Relationships with clients
    Assessment and support planning
    Management and structure
    Recording information
    Suggested Courses
    One day introductory course
    Two day course covering Supported People Standards
    Two day course for managers covering structural issues
    Two day skills course for workers
    Four day course covering underpinning knowledge for an NVQ level three in housing
    Seven day comprehensive course


    "A practical and easily accessible approach to training… The exercises have been tried and tested over a number of years' training in a variety of homelessness agencies and colleges. Each subject area is made up of a variety of exercises, which in turn link into some useful resources, including what is probably the best part about it; a range of handouts… a really easy-to-follow guide to delivering learning on to frontline workers... Thoroughly well thought out and long overdue. Its flexibility lends itself to one-off training days or longer term schedules alike." Connect.

    "Excellent... clearly laid out with guidance as to the aims of the exercise, the style, resources needed, suggested time scales, related chapters in Resettling Homeless People." Rostrum.