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December 18, 2017

We're off the ground!

Dr Lígia Teixeira

Funding secured by Crisis and Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN) to launch our new centre in spring 2018. A note from director Ligia Teixeira on what that means and what we've got planned for the new year

Today marks an important moment as we begin the setting up phase of the new Centre for Homelessness Impact, with a view to launching fully in spring 2018.

At the heart of our work lies a single cornerstone question, that is -  what can be done to end homelessness faster? It’s an issue that has perplexed and challenged decision-makers and academics in the field for many years now.

At a time when homelessness has finally returned to the political agenda, it’s also a challenge that has assumed greater urgency. In particular in light of tight budgets and the shift in powers towards local areas.

Careful research and evaluation may not end homelessness on its own, but we believe it has a crucial role to play in responding to this challenge, and increasing the effectiveness of policy making and practice.

Understanding, assessing and making use of evidence is very hard for policy-makers, commissioners, and practitioners working day in, day out to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness and more generally to create healthy and thriving communities.

The new centre is here to help. We are going to start by developing an outcomes and impact framework and systematically mapping and synthesising existing evidence on key outcome areas such as housing stability, employment, skills and wellbeing. We will be ranking interventions in these areas in terms of the strength of the evidence.

This work should provide decision makers and practitioners with new crucial insights to help them end homelessness faster locally and we will do all we can to ensure that findings are understood and used. By for instance running roundtables and workshops, creating a community of practice both online and offline and developing an accessible evidence repository on our website.

But to achieve lasting change we know we can't stop there. Longer term our goal is to ensure that robust evidence is embedded in the design and implementation of homelessness policy, that any major initiatives are carefully evaluated and that findings are used to improve impact. To do this we will work with local decision makers and practitioners to improve evaluation standards so that we gain a deeper understanding of what policies work, how they work, where, and for whom. We will also set up demonstration projects to show how effective evaluation can work on the ground.

Getting a new centre up and running is a massive task, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our funder philanthropist Humphrey Battcock, our Board Members, the many individuals and organisations who helped shape the proposals in the feasibility study, and a special thanks to Crisis and Glasgow Homelessness Network for the instrumental role they play and for helping get us this far.

One thing seems certain - the centre’s success will depend on more than the backing of two excellent organisations and a great team, as vital as that support is. This is why continuous and effective user engagement will continue to underpin all our work and priorities as we begin to operate.

Personally, I really look forward to hearing from and meeting with many of you from across the sector over the months to come – and will look to you to shape our work, our tools and outcomes to ensure we can have the biggest impact possible.  

To stay connected, follow us on twitter, sign up for our newsletter or drop us a line at hello@homelessnessimpact.org – we’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and ideas.

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