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March 6, 2024

Director appointed to lead £15m innovation programme

Michelle Binfield joins the CHI team

The Centre for Homelessness Impact has appointed Michelle Binfield as its Director of Programmes, leading a £15 million project to evaluate solutions to rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness.

Michelle has a wealth of experience from working in the homelessness sector for many years. Since 2021 she has been Rough Sleeping Programme Director at London Councils. She will continue in this role on a part-time basis, dividing her time equally between London Councils and CHI.

In her new role she will lead a team to deliver the Test and Learn and Systems-Wide Evaluation programme, which has been commissioned by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This involves eight rigorous evaluations of promising and innovative ways to prevent and relieve rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness in England and the first evaluation of how the homelessness and rough sleeping system works as a whole. The programme will run for three years. The £15 million budget will mostly be awarded in grants to local authorities and third sector homelessness organisations to fund new services, with a small proportion of the budget used to commission robust independent evaluations of their impact.

Michelle said: ‘I am delighted to be able to be part of such a groundbreaking and potentially impactful programme. When times are hard – as they undoubtedly are in the homelessness and rough sleeping space right now – taking a step back and considering whether we are doing and resourcing the right things, in the right way, with the right people is exactly the right thing to do. The temptation is to go deeper into crisis mode and it is to the credit of DLUHC, the Centre and those participating that this programme resists that in favour of doing collaborative and clever work that will get us closer to understanding what works (and what doesn’t!) and will enable that understanding to be backed up by rigorous data and evidence, not just our collective hopes and beliefs.

Freedom to innovate

‘The Centre for Homelessness Impact is a rare beast: an independent organisation, full of talent, collaborative and evidence-led, and with the freedom to innovate and guide the sector towards doing better, more effective work. I was pleased to be involved in the work the Centre led to develop a new rough sleeping indicator set with DLUHC and a host of other early adopters and it convinced me that this was an organisation that was happy to do the work needed to get to the best outcome without ego, and without taking sides.

‘I’ve been involved in homelessness and rough sleeping for over 30 years as a provider, a commissioner, and a strategic lead. I’ve worked in central government, local government, and regional government. My excitement about joining CHI as Programme Director for the Test and Learn and Systems-Wide Evaluation programme is because I can bring that experience to bear in the most impactful way within a programme that probably represents the first time that government has sought to really put evidence, data and system evaluation at the heart of its homelessness policy making.’

Dr Ligia Teixeira, Chief Executive of CHI, said: 'We're thrilled to welcome Michelle to our team. Her track record as an agent of change aligns perfectly with our mission to address homelessness effectively. Despite the significant hurdles currently facing efforts to end homelessness in the UK, together, we are poised to achieve great progress with Michelle on board.'

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