July 15, 2019

Insights from our Impact Forums 2019

The Centre for Homelessness Impact believes that we serve all citizens better when we value evidence and know how to use it, working with professionals and communities to drive lasting change. One of three key objectives of the Centre’s five-year strategy is to mobilise a learning culture within the sector that embraces reliable evidence. To this end, our team has spent much of the past month between Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London launching our strategy in all four corners of the UK and building support for this new culture of learning at our inaugural Impact Forums. 

The Impact Forums brought together a line-up of the foremost leaders from homelessness policy and practice, people with lived experiences of homelessness and other parts of society in order to advance vital solutions to our field’s most pressing challenges. We invited delegates to openly share, collaborate and innovate by exploring the theme ‘Ending Homelessness For Good’ to collectively take the next steps towards evidence-led change in the sector.

The Forums took the form of speeches, panels, fireside chats and workshops designed to encourage our delegates to work together on strategies that could have immediate impact in their work. They focussed on four key themes: the importance of homelessness prevention, new opportunities presented by data, designing person-centred services and the urgent need to shift the narrative on homelessness in the public consciousness.

These themes were addressed throughout the four days by a wide range of speakers including the Ministers for Housing and Local Government from each of the four administrations, representatives from the ONS and the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team, members of the What Works movement who shared their lessons from other areas of evidence-led practice, people with lived experiences, and academics and advocates already putting evidence at the heart of their work.   

Over the next few weeks we’ll be teasing out some of the key insights from these events, sharing videos and interviews and providing links to resources and reports that were discussed widely over the four days. A recording of our entire London event is also available to watch.

The Impact Forums and our five-year strategy are an important first step in acknowledging that, while progress has been made in the homelessness field over the last 50 years, there is more that can be done. “Business as usual” is not the way that we’ll bring about lasting change. Instead we want to learn from other fields that have tackled complex social issues and apply their strategies and methods to our own — one of the reasons we’re so delighted to have joined the What Works Network.

As our CEO, Ligia Teixeira, reiterated at the end of each day: “We want to replace experts with learners in order to bring about the step change we want to see.”

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