People explained that with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting everyone UK wide, it was often the first time many people encountered the system and experienced having their lives managed.
People have responded in different ways to this new situation. Some have been compliant and grateful for the wider response, even taking on the role of trying to be helpful. Others have rebelled against the restrictions and repeatedly broke the rules. It is apparent, that whatever the response, no one is really happy with having their lives managed.
It has highlighted how rigidly the lives of those who are within homeless, mental health, criminal justice and social care systems are managed and controlled, as opposed to others who live outside of such systems.
Practitioners who worked in a genuine person-led way shared: “Only being able to communicate via phone has led to some very short and sometimes uncomfortable conversations and this left me feeling that I am ‘not doing enough’. On reflection, the people I am working with seem happy with the level of communication they are receiving and appreciate the contact. This has caused me to reflect on who I am doing things for, is it about them or about me and how I feel?”
For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has been the first time they have been housed unconditionally and they have been able to manage well without the mandatory ‘engagement’ with support. It poses the question, ‘do we need to move toward more human rights led approaches as opposed to support driven models?’