February 9, 2020

Homelessness Impact: A What Works Perspective

Dr Lígia Teixeira

Today we release our Impact Report 2020, the first publicly circulated progress report since we launched the Centre in 2018. It presents an exciting opportunity for us to reflect on our first two years and look ahead to everything we hope to achieve in 2021.

For decades, we’ve been accustomed to relying on proven evidence to help judge what medical treatments are effective. In recent years, that approach has spread to other sectors, such as education. But until CHI was established in 2018, the same had not been true for homelessness. We lacked the evidence base necessary to tackle homelessness sustainably. 

CHI was founded to create that evidence base and to act as a catalyst for the evidence-led transformation of the homelessness field. We help governments and local areas harness the power of evidence to improve the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Over the past two years CHI has co-designed or invested in many inspiring projects in areas as diverse as landlord behaviour, direct cash transfers, and out-of-borough mobility.

We also seek to improve the conditions in which evidence can flourish by pioneering new ways of supporting evidence translation; from our groundbreaking evidence tools, the launch of our What Works Community, our programme of emerging leaders to the SHARE framework and through in-person or online festivals. 

We’re proud of all that we’ve achieved in limited time, but we’re only just getting started, and we know our work is more urgent now than ever before. Through the ongoing the COVID-19 pandemic, we have necessarily had to adapt our approach and strike a balance between flexing our output to address the immediate needs of our community and continuing with our essential existing programmes of work.

For anyone dedicated to ending homelessness these are exhilarating and scary times. Exhilarating because of the impressive flow of energy and creativity from all parts of the country and the world to address this pandemic; scary because the economy is not growing, and services in local areas are caught between declining revenues and growing demands. Many of our systems seem stuck, struggling to adapt to changing technologies and public attitudes. And the homelessness sector looks little better at understanding, let alone addressing, homelessness. There’s a lot at stake.

In this climate of uncertainty, we’re confident that our first Impact Report demonstrates the value and innovation we’re bringing to the field, but we have no plans to rest on our laurels. The next few years will only see us increase our output and effectiveness to ensure we’re essential to everyone working to end homelessness for good — whether in government or the public and third sectors. 

At a time when many have lost confidence in their ability to transform the homelessness system it’s more important than ever that we provide practical support and act as a catalyst for creative evidence-led ideas that make a real difference. 

Finally we’d like to thank every one of our collaborators, whether individuals or organisations, who have helped shape our work. We couldn’t have achieved any of this without you, and we’re excited to take you with us on the next stage of our journey.

You can read our Impact Report here. If you’d like to learn more about any of the work referenced or just speak to us about what we do, contact us. We’d love to hear from you. 

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