Working in partnership to end homelessness
Last year, the Local Government Association (LGA) worked with Homeless Link to draft some guidance for the voluntary sector on partnership working to tackle homelessness. We wanted to highlight the vital importance of partnership at a time when levels of homelessness were high and rising, with over 4,000 people sleeping on the streets and over 83,000 in temporary accommodation.
The guidance contains many examples of excellent joint working against that context – charities and councils working hand in hand to ensure that people who are disadvantaged or are at risk of being so were quickly identified and prevented from becoming homeless, and to ensure that people who were already homeless could access timely, targeted and appropriate services and accommodation.
Since then, the world has been fundamentally changed by the COVID-19 crisis, and our social, economic, and environmental context is very different.
For many, the crisis has significantly increased the risk of hardship, homelessness, and compromised health. However, amongst the tragedies, the crisis has also created opportunities with 15,000 people, previously sleeping on the streets or in night shelters, rehoused and supported by councils and their partners, with profound positive effects on their wellbeing.
The crisis has also highlighted the importance of partnership. Councils, charities, and partners in the public sector have together been able to identify people who are disadvantaged or are at risk of being so – whether they are already experiencing chronic homelessness or just starting to experience financial insecurity and housing instability. Where these partnerships are working well, they have been able to swiftly bring together their collective resources to ensure that thousands have been safely accommodated, and given support with claiming benefits, improving their health, and their daily needs. And they have consequently strengthened local support networks, bringing together more services, more closely, so that the partnership benefits which we’ve seen can be embedded in the longer term, as we move towards recovery.
Councils and their partners can’t end homelessness alone, and support is still needed from central government if we are to see everyone in for good. This includes reforming welfare benefits, including the benefit cap, so that people can afford and sustain safe accommodation. We also need support for people with no recourse to public funds, who are at a very high risk of destitution.
However, we hope that this guidance will go some way to highlighting how positive change can be made at a local level, so that we can collectively recover into a new, and better, normal.
Working Strategically with Local Authorities
Coordinated local responses are essential to ending homelessness. This guidance sets out the six key elements of effective joint working, helping voluntary, community and faith groups to develop strategic relationships with their local authority.
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As we move out of lockdown, Fiona Colley, Director of StreetLink, discusses the picture of rough sleeping in England, the support available to people and what will happen next as StreetLink works alongside other services to help end rough sleeping.
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Blog posted by: Sophie Boobis, Wednesday, 31 March 2021.
Everyone In for Good: Joint call for investment in long-term solutions to end homelessness30/03/2021 11:10:00
We have joined Centrepoint, National Housing Federation and Shelter to call for investment in long-term solutions to end homelessness.
Housing and Homelessness “Critical” issue in Local Elections 202126/03/2021 13:10:00
Homeless Link is launching a new campaign to raise the profile of homelessness in the forthcoming local elections in England.
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Blog posted by: Murphy Hopkins-Hubbard Tuesday, 23 March 2021.
Becoming strengths-based: the four key elements17/03/2021 10:15:00
For the past year, Homeless Link in partnership with Expert Link and Inspire Chilli, has been learning more about strengths-based working. This week we publish the first section of our toolkit, Becoming strengths-based, in which we outline why we think it’s so important and the key principles for working in a strengths-based way.
Homelessness and Migration – Two Worlds Colliding16/03/2021 09:25:00
Ahead of our Homelessness & Migration: Working towards better solutions together conference on Wednesday, Bethan Lant from Praxis explains the environment for homeless migrants over the last year of the pandemic.