Our Lived Experience Specialist, Hannah Green, shares her learning from week four of the Impact Festival – where we explored the importance of connecting people with place, and with each other.
The first session of the week, chaired by Dr Lígia Teixeira, the founding CEO of the Centre for Homelessness Impact, brought together Jeff Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Neil Munslow, Service Manager for Active Inclusion at Newcastle City Council. The discussion focused on the importance of acting quickly when it comes to data in order to make more effective interventions in the homelessness sector. One of the key messages was around aligning our success measures. If they don’t align with the outcome we’re trying to achieve, how can everyone steer towards the right objectives?
We also heard an inspirational address from Terence Lester, a speaker, activist, author and founder of ‘Love Beyond Walls’. He was joined by Brandy Wallner, a freelance content writer and founder of ‘A Good Conversation Dinner’. The powerful conversation drew upon Terence’s own experiences of homelessness, and his work with Love Beyond Walls. The takeaway message came from Terence “we have to start seeing people beyond where they are in life, individuals are worth far more than the fact that they are homeless”.
In The View From: Northern Ireland we heard a ministerial address from Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, a Communities Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive where she stressed the need to tackle the causes of homelessness, not just the symptoms.
William Mullholland told us how he had spent many years in and out of prison, sleeping on the streets in between. He felt strongly that anyone leaving prison should be given somewhere safe to stay along with someone to talk to, to prevent them from reoffending. William was extremely grateful for everything that DePaul had offered him, whilst it was a housing first scheme it offered him so much more than housing; someone to speak to, help with budgeting and paying bills, staff which showed him respect and mutual trust which he said made all the difference.
Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic gathered for a discussion for the session effective leadership during times of crisis. Chaired by Rosanne Haggerty, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Solutions, the session also included Christina Miller, Deputy Mayor for City Homelessness Initiatives in Los Angeles, Jeremy Swain, a government adviser on homelessness and rough sleeping, Jason Johnson, the Interim Director of the Seattle Human Services Department, Paul Matthews, the CEO of Monmouthshire County Council and Robert Doar, the president of the American Enterprise Institute. The issues of urgency, risk and relationships were all highlighted, along with the humility and adopting a growth mindset.
On Friday we launched the new iteration of our What Works Community which will allow us to support 30 local authorities with expert assistance from the fields of behavioural insights, design thinking and data-informed decision making.
“We're so delighted to extend this opportunity to 30 local authorities across the UK this coming year to provide the help and support they need to achieve breakthrough results in tackling and preventing homelessness” – Faye Greaves, Head of Policy, Practice and Development at CHI.
At the launch event we heard from Councillor Ian Gilbert and Ali Griffin, from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Fiona Lees and Councillor Elina Whitham of East Ayrshire Council and Councillor Michelle Bateman of Pembrokeshire County Council on how the pilot had really benefited them and their work. Read the press release to hear reflections from the What Works Community pilot participants and learn more about it’s next iteration.
Throughout the week we also heard from the Shared Health Foundation, who delivered a session on families experiencing homelessness, Nazreen Visram, Tim Gray, Chris Wright, Seb Barker and Anna Dixon on employment support, and how it can prevent homlessness as we come out of the pandemic. Nancy Hey, Remi Olajoyegbe, Dr Hannah Carver and myself held a discussion on wellbeing and how we can promote resilience, and Pat McArdle, Dez Holmes and Jonathan Breckon met to discuss the importance of relationships in knowledge translation. On Thursday, Guillermo Rodríguez-Guzmán, Darren Murinas, Francesca Albanese and Jeff Kotitsky discussed Enforcement and criminalisation, and on Friday we also held a workshop with Sharath Jeevan on reigniting our mojo at work, and a masterclass on our newly launched What Works Community.
You can sign up for the final week of our Festival, where we will explore how services can work together to create a ‘response system’ that is effective and person-centred, here: https://impactfestival.homelessnessimpact.org/week/week-5-ecosystem-of-services
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