Representatives from Crisis, Youth Homeless North East, and both local authorities and housing associations shared their experiences, latest research and recommendations around tackling homelessness at an event organised by the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) in Leeds on the 25th November.
Access to housing is a fundamental part of solving homelessness.
There are now 84,740 households, including 126,020 children, living in temporary accommodation – the highest level in more than a decade – while the children’s commissioner calculates there are 92,000 homeless young people in families who sofa-surfed with friends or relatives.
Social housing is part of the solution to preventing and relieving homelessness. Evidence shows that social housing has an important role to play in ensuring that people with a history of rough sleeping never return to the streets by providing stable and affordable homes. However, tackling homelessness continues to be a growing concern and challenge for the sector, mainly due to the shortage of truly affordable accommodation.
Satty Rai, Member Engagement Manager, Northern Housing Consortium said:
“We’re facing a homelessness crisis and to tackle this, a coordinated approach to providing affordable and safe accommodation and tailored support is required to meet people’s needs and help them live fulfilling lives.
This seminar provided an opportunity to delegates across the housing sector and beyond to hear of the issues facing communities and the approaches adopted across the sector in tackling and preventing homelessness.”
The event heard from Crisis representatives who shared early findings from the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) Implementation Project, a project to support and monitor the success of the HRA, including providing targeted support to five local authorities and research with six LAs to assess the Act’s implementation.
Also sharing key findings from recent research was Prof Glen Bramley, Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University who talked about the report – Homelessness prevention in Newcastle: Examining the role of the ‘local state’ in the context of austerity and welfare reforms alongside Claire Horton, Improvement Lead, Active Inclusion Newcastle, Newcastle City Council.
Delegates heared about practical initiatives from speakers Marie Smith, Housing Manager at Durham City Council, and Jayne Adamson, Tenancy Sustainment Manager at Believe Housing who talked about their partnership approach including New Start, intensive housing intervention and how the Durham key options (CBL scheme) helps to prevent homelessness. Amanda Bloxome, Housing First Best Practice & Partnership Lead at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority talked attendees through the Liverpool City Region Housing first co production approach and Gareth Clarke, Services Manager at Manchester City Council presented on the Greater Manchester approach to meeting increasing homelessness demand.
In response to reports of increased numbers of young people affected by homelessness also suffering mental health problems, Youth Homeless North East ran a participatory research project. Sharon Brown, Director at Youth Homelessness North East and Andy Hayes, Operations Manager at Home Group shared the approach they adopted as part of the research, the findings of the survey and recommendations based on what young people shared.
The event was supported by Locata, a not-for-profit company owned by local authorities and RSLs that provides a complete range of web-based housing option services including HPA2, the market leading homelessness system.
If you are interested in attending future NHC events please go to our member portal www.mynhc.org.uk.
The NHC also runs a free Northern Homelessness Network for its members. If you would like to attend future meetings please email Matthew Wilson, Member Engagement Officer, Northern Housing Consortium – firstname.lastname@example.org.