Homelessness is a significant social issue in the UK, with an estimated 320,000 people experiencing homelessness each year. Homeless individuals face a wide range of challenges, including a lack of access to basic necessities like food and shelter, limited opportunities for employment and education, and social exclusion. Many existing services and programs aimed at supporting homeless individuals do not effectively address these challenges or meet the specific needs of the homeless population.
For my final project, my team and I focused on the issue of helping homeless individuals with pets reintegrate into society. Through extensive research and interviews, we shattered the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding homelessness, realizing that they are often victims, facing innocent attacks and frequent theft. Homeless individuals with pets face even greater challenges, as society often fails to understand and accept their bond with their animals. Consequently, they receive less assistance than their non-pet-owning counterparts, and caring for their pets adds a financial burden. Despite their circumstances, these individuals possess a strong sense of responsibility and are willing to reintegrate into society with their pets, but opportunities are scarce.
Solving a design problem requires not only the efforts of designers but also collaboration from various stakeholders. As a designer, I acknowledge the limitations of my impact, but I firmly believe that we can make a difference and improve the current situation.