The principal intention behind this website is the wish to facilitate communication between all those working with the psychological and emotional needs of people who are homeless.
Full use of the site, and active membership of this community of practice, was until very recently open only to those who have signed up earlier, via our original site, www.pielink.ning.com. We are still in the midst of transferring some past members over to this new site. We must anticipate that this process may take several weeks yet.
You can, however, now join this site directly, as a participant. If you would wish to join, go to the word 'Register', next to Log In, top right on the Home Page, and follow the process - it is fairly standard, and you will hear from us then within (usually) a day or so at most. After acceptance, you will also sign in from there.
The Directory, and member forums
Our key ambition here is to give due recognition to, and support innovation, in homelessness services. We do so here, by creating an on-line community of practice with special interest groups and forums, where people with similar interests can meet, on-line, and exchange ideas, concerns, and learning.
To join this community, you only need to register. As you sign in, you will be invited to say a little bit about yourself and your interests, in your own words. Tell us as much or as little as you are comfortable with.
But then, so that members can identify those with similar interests, we now have a Member's Directory. In order for this area to be searchable, we use a system of keywords. The video below outlines the process.
(There is also a more tongue-in-cheek account, in the third column on this page,)
Some areas of the site (particularly the Members' Directory and the Library) will be only accessible to full participating members. In other areas, such as webinars and forums, non-members will be able to observe, but not to comment.
For details on how the Member's Directory works, see the next two columns: on the Member Map: and some advice on searching the Directory using keywords.
Getting Yourself on The Map
There will be two main ways to find members with interests similar to your own. The first is through finding a forum in an area that reflects your interests, and joining the discussion. This means is not fully operational yet, as we are currently gauging the level of members' interest in specific topic areas.
But when you sign up and log in (see above for the process), provided only that you give us some idea of your location (in the 'location' box), this then puts you into the Members' Directory and (quite literally) on the map. Note that this Member map is an entirely new feature, developed for this site, and we are still piloting its use, getting feedback.
The Member map allows all members of the PIELink community to find, and then connect with, other members in their particular area. That can mean a geographical area - hence the map. Knowing who else is in your locality means that you might be able to meet, to compare notes. (In some localities, members are already forming Action Learning Sets - which is a form of reflective practice between services.)
But "your area" can also mean your particular area of interest - what it is that has you interested in being part of a community of practice. This can include the client group you work - women, young people, care-leavers, addiction issues, ex-offenders etc etc. Or it might mean the setting in which you work - street outreach, hostel, shelter or day care, or a university teaching or research unit. It might mean the way you work, the techniques, psychological model or "theory of change".
Getting "on the map" is an option - you can browse much of this site and its content without becoming a member. But without it, its harder to get known to other members, which is what being a community is all about. So for those that might not want to give out their home or workplace address, even to other members, we have a simple way to disguise your location details; just give us a very approximate address, such as a local railway station, or a town hall.
PLEASE do give us some kind of location; without it, the map may 'hang", which will be annoying for others.*
For an up-date on this and other developments, see the “Future Developments” pages, in the members’ area.
- If the map does hang on a blank ID marker (one with no location given) you can simply click on any other marker, to clear it......
The keywords we have developed for the Members' Directory and Member Map are also exactly the same as those used in the members' library, so that at least you do not need to get used to two different vocabularies.
This means that members can now look up papers, videos and podcasts to suit their particular interests; and you can use the "search" filter on the Members' map, just as you can do in the Library, to find who has identified themselves as having similar interests or area of work.
What you then do is entirely up to you. You might then form a local practice group; or start a discussion; or a special interest group, such as research and evaluation, or youth services, or faith-based practice. You can also use it to find a trainer or mentor, for example - or if you offer training or consultancy, you can use it to advertise your own skills and offer.
For a light-hearted look at classifying member details, see the video here:
For a rather more practical introduction, you'll probably want to watch "A very, very quick introduction to keywords on the new PIELink", at: https://youtu.be/oDvaodZxKd0
But for a more in-depth exploration of how we have developed these keywords and this approach, there is an "extended introduction" (which also works as an introduction to the whole subject of PIEs) which you will find with the Keyword Glossary, in the Library.
So have a look now at these pages, where you can browse all the marker categories we are suggesting, to see what most closely describes yourself and your work; and you can email us at email@example.com with your suggestions for new items.
In the meantime, if you register, then (as a basic spam defense) the brief details you send in there will be checked for approval by our admin team , after which - assuming you have given us your location - your marker will be added to the map.