December 17, 2021
We know that homelessness practitioners across the country are enthusiastic about using evidence to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness. But often their efforts are hampered by a lack of knowledge of what the evidence says and resources to use it. Our What Works Community programme provides access to expert support when they need it, and builds capacity to use evidence and data to achieve breakthrough and sustainable results and ultimately make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.
In 2021, we built upon our What Works Community pilot, developing a more structured and spread out learning journey over 6 months that was delivered remotely to many more participants, and we have even bolder plans for 2022.
If you missed our end of year celebration on 14th December, you can hear about the cutting edge projects developed by What Works Community members and more in this video.
We heard reflections from the 2021 Accelerator - which focused on designing interventions targeted at reducing reliance and use of temporary accommodation - participants Louise Gilpin and Hannah Courtney-Adamson, from Hull City Council and Rochdale Council. Hull are targeting repeat homelessness for their 18-26 cohort that come through housing options more than once, and are piloting a case management system by recruiting two new team members to help those in that age bracket access permanent housing solutions. Rochdale’s intervention is about creating a supported temporary accommodation model for those in B&B, by implementing changes to the personal housing plan to foster a more holistic and personalised user journey.
We then spoke with Glyn Halksworth, trustee of the CHI and Director of Housing at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, one of the founding members of the What Works Community, about how the evidence-led approach they learned has become even more important, particularly as resources become tighter in the face of both increases in demand for public services and a challenging financial outlook in the face of the pandemic.
Our final speaker was Neelam Sunder, Senior Programme Manager at West Midlands Combined Authority, who explored how they are beginning to use a data-led definition of ending street homelessness to help accelerate efforts towards ‘design out rough sleeping’ in the West Midlands. Their priorities include driving prevention upstream across the region through the convening of their homelessness taskforce, and CHI will be working with them closely to help them realise this work.
2021 has been an extraordinary year for local authorities tackling homelessness, and while incredible progress has been made, particularly on street homelessness, the crisis of the pandemic has made the need for innovation and a focus on what works clearer than ever. That’s why in 2022 we’re expanding our What Works Community offer to help local areas across the UK accelerate an end to homelessness. Join us: sign ups for 2022 are open now, and we want to hear what you’d find most useful.