Homelessness Mediation is a very good example of how mediation can be used for purposes other than just contractual or 'legal' issues which represents just a small proportion of areas and outcomes it can help with.
Indeed in some legal contexts it could be questioned if the process used is more than a traditional legal 'settlement conference' which has always existed within the legal system and so, in many ways, does not reflect the genuinely alternative process that mediation, as described on this website for example, is able to provide. (Even the link given above to a wikipedia entry about settlement conferences suggests it is a form of mediation - in our view at CAOS Conflict Management this is an unfortunately limited understanding of what mediation can provide and it is hoped that this page shows one example from the much wider range of beneficial outcomes mediation can bring.)
Homelessness mediation focuses on the resolution of difficulties between family members that may lead to one of the family becoming homeless due to their feeling forced to leave due to the difficult relationships that exist in the home, or indeed they may be evicted.
Often the provision of homelessness mediation is for young people but not exclusively so.
An excellent example of a homelessness mediation service can be found at the talk2sort website run by The Bridge in Leicestershire. They have extended their service to issues beyond just the risk of homelessness to include providing mediation for other family conflict situations, in the recognition that such issues can, in the long term lead to family breakdown whether homelessness is a present risk or not.
Here's a video about the experiences of a user of this service and how she saw mediation being useful in her difficult family situation.
Many of the mediators who work at The Bridge have had their training from CAOS Conflict Management where we train people in a model which supports improved relationships between people who are 'falling out', in any context in which that may be happening.
This is what Chantelle Bramley, Mediation Team Manager said, who trained for her role as Mediator at The Bridge Housing Services in 2011.
"I really enjoyed the course. It met my expectations and more. I felt that the environment created by Alan and Susie was very relaxed and trusting. I always felt comfortable, and always felt I was able to ask questions no matter how small/silly they seemed. The small group also meant that i got to know people really well, and this made the role plays/activities comfortable and enjoyable. Thank you Alan and Susie!"
And this is what Molly Boggis said, who also works at The Bridge and who trained in the CAOS model of Mediation more recently:
"The whole course was fantastic - who knew I would enjoy role play so much!...It was a wonderful experience being on training that was delivered by such knowledgeable, approachable and experienced trainers."
Here is another example of clients talking about their experience of having homelessness mediation, this time provided by Herts Young Homeless Group.
At CAOS we define mediation as a facilitated process that supports more effective communication and creative thinking in response to a conflict, and what will often follow on from the use of this process is a greater level of understanding between people and, consequently, a more effective interpersonal relationship.
For families where there is a risk of such severe breakdown in relationships,often due to a lack of opportunities for effectively communicating, that a family member moves out or is 'kicked out', homelessness mediation can be a welcome sanctuary for one or more of the family members to enter into in order to try to improve their situation.
The CAOS Model of Mediation is unusual in that it accommodates the possibility that only one person from the family may be wanting mediation, but the process is still able to support that individual in making positive and constructive changes that can have a welcome 'knock on effect' for the rest of the family.
In many mediation models there is a dependence on a Joint, or 'face to face' meeting having to occur before there is considered to be any chance of improvement. Our approach in all areas of application supports resolution at every session with the mediation participants whether individually or together. This increases the number of people who can be helped as situations that might be excluded from the service because of a belief that 'it needs all participants to want to try it' is no longer preventing support being provided.
If you, or your organisation, are looking for training in mediation skills for application in situations where there is a risk of homelessness, please get in touch with us to discuss your training needs.
We can provide commissioned training for organisations at their site, or individuals can attend our Mediation Skills Training Course which we hold roughly 3 times a year in West London.
Alternatively, please call us on 020 3371 7507 to discuss your interests in training further.
CAOS Conflict Management provides mediation in all types of dispute situations but links to some of the main areas are given below:
Please click the image above or the text below to purchase this book written by Alan Sharland, Director of CAOS Conflict Management: