housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

4th Annual Tackling Homelessness Forum

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:30

Wednesday 5 June 2019

The Hatton- etc Venues, Central London


This Forum will provide delegates with the opportunity to gain policy insights around the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018 and hear from organisations leading the way in forging innovative solutions to combating homelessness across England. Award-winning best practice case studies will share successful methods for reducing homelessness through alternative funding models, technological innovations, supported housing initiatives and cross-sector collaboration.


This Forum is specifically designed for Local Authorities, Housing Associations, and the Voluntary Sector, including:

  • Chief Executives
  • Neighbourhood Managers
  • Policy Officers
  • Community Services Managers
  • Executive Directors of Housing Services
  • Directors of Housing Support
  • Advice Service Managers
  • Operations Managers
  • Councillors
  • Project Managers
  • Youth Homelessness Workers

This Forum is also open to the Private Sector for networking purposes and to encourage debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Lord Shipley OBE, Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, UK Parliament
  • Rick Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Homeless Link, and Member, National Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel
  • David Tovey Artist, Educator, Activist and Founder, One Festival of Homeless Arts and, Ambassador, Shelter
  • David Eastwood, Rough Sleeping Lead Manager, Greater London Authority
  • Alison Butler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services, Croydon Council
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments, and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Mick Clarke, Chief Executive, The Passage to Ending Homelessness (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Exploring the Government’s Strategy for Eliminating Homelessness

  • Exploring achievements and objectives in tackling homelessness since the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into effect in April 2018
  • Outlining the APPG’s proposal for how the Government should tackle homelessness including addressing the root cause of homelessness, by providing sufficient social housing, welfare budget and support for mental ill-health and substance abuse
  • Highlighting the Government’s recent proposal to boost support for veterans at risk of homelessness such as investment for eleven local areas to fund access to housing advice or mental health support
  • Examining the next steps in tackling homelessness, including how the APPG will encourage a cross-governmental approach to implement the Government’s Action Plan for Tackling Rough Sleeping in attempting to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027
  • Reviewing steps being taken as outlined in the 2018 report ‘Rapidly responding to homelessness’including Street Legal project, an innovative collaboration tackling rough sleeping by linking immigration advisers with homeless outreach services across London
  • Reflecting on lessons learnt nationally and internationally by using Critical Time Intervention
  • Demonstrating how to boost voluntary action by the general public to address homelessness

Lord Shipley OBE, Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, UK Parliament (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Promoting and Developing Cross-Sector Collaboration to Eradicate Homelessness

  • Exploring Government progress to date on tackling homelessness, including providing £315 million for councils to collaborate with local groups to fight homelessness, funding the ‘No Second Night Out’ and £28 million for 3 Housing First pilots
  • Reviewing the ‘prevention, intervention and recovery’ strategy aimed at understanding what leads to rough sleeping, helping those already homeless through ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ centres, providing emergency shelter and rapid assessment for individuals and growing enterprises to support recovery
  • Highlighting how the Panel are working with the government and public services in focusing on prevention, intervention and recovery, for instance investing in training for NHS staff to effectively interact with those under the influence of substances
  • Demonstrating how the Panel are collaborating through a cross-sector preventative approach to homelessness, for instance through piloting Housing First; prioritising stable long-term housing early on over emergency shelter

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Homeless Link, and Member, National Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Developing Innovative Housing Solutions to Tackle Homelessness Amongst Vulnerable People

  • Reviewing 2017/18 outcomes for Hope into Action, such as growing from providing 38 homes to 53 homes for the homeless through a £10 million investment capital model through property owners who lease a property with Hope into Action
  • Demonstrating how to ensure that 90% of tenants who were in custody did not return by providing expert mentoring and links with community groups which reflect an individuals interests leading to reintegrating members into society
  • Sharing a theory of change which measures success along 6 outcomes: maintaining tenancy, abstaining from crime, reducing drug intake, improving social relations, support into training, and improving financial management
  • Exploring Mubarak’s story; an immigrant who became homeless after fleeing his home country and due to intensive counselling and the charity assigning a career mentor from a local church, is now studying as an engineer

Winner of the Innovation in Housing at the Homeless Link Excellence Awards 2018

Ed Walker, Executive Director, Hope into Action (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Generating Cross-Sector Partnerships to Tackle Rough Sleeping and Homelessness

  • Exploring the benefit of collaboration through the GM Housing Providers, a three-year programme allowing rough sleepers to sustain a tenancy in a home made available by 15 housing providers and two private rented sector partners
  • Emphasising the replicability of the GM Homes model across other authorities
  • Highlighting how to attract housing associations, councils and the private sector to partner on tackling rough sleeping such as the ability to generate £2.6 million of inward investment 
  • Implementing a ‘second chance’ philosophy in the partnership, to remove barriers for people who may have previously lost tenancies, to access suitable accommodation 
  • Outlining the effectiveness of ‘outcome-based contracts’ for working with vulnerable individuals such as giving organisations the ability to tailor support to individual needs

The GM Homes Partnership has been shortlisted for Homelessness project of the year at the UK Housing Awards, 2019

Sarah Cooke, Project Manager, GM Homes Partnership (CONFIRMED)

Tom Wilde, Social Value Manager, Trafford Housing Trust, Lead Partner, GM Homes Partnership (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Exploring the Underlying Causes of Homelessness and Addressing Future Potential Solutions

  • Demonstrating what causes homelessness, including insecurities in the housing sector, mental ill-health and domestic abuse and providing the appropriate channels to solve such issues including advice on how to claim benefits
  • Exploring local short-term solutions to homelessness such as London Borough of Lewisham’s strategy ‘PLACE’, a high-rise building of flats given to recently classified homeless families in priority need
  • Given the correlation between drug use, neglect and homelessness, outlining how Shelter address the root causes of homelessness by sending users to residential treatment and Floating support as well as providing shelter
  • Identifying Government challenges and milestones thus far in tackling homelessness, including achievement in banning agency fees and the need for caps on rent, a rise in welfare budget, and an increase in social housing

David Tovey Artist, Educator, Activist and Founder, One Festival of Homeless Arts and, Ambassador, Shelter (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Outlining the Mayor of London's Plan to Provide a Route Off the Streets for Rough Sleepers in London

  • Reviewing the Mayor approach to tackling rough sleeping in London
  • Outlining the effectiveness of outcome based commissioning and partnership work
  • Examining London’s Rough Sleeping Plan of Action and plans to ensure that there is an immediate and sustainable route off the streets for anyone rough sleeping in London
  • Highlighting proposals for an immediate route off the streets for rough sleepers
  • Outlining future services to be delivered in 2019/20 including services to improve access to mental health services, for instance through tailored mental health assessments for rough sleepers

David Eastwood, Rough Sleeping Lead Manager, Greater London Authority (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Developing an Innovative Strategy to Effectively Reduce Homelessness; Local Authority Perspective

  • Partnering with community groups to deliver ‘The Food Stop’; aiding individuals who are struggling to pay their bills by providing a week’s worth of food at a substantially reduced cost whilst also providing access to employment and cookery sessions
  • Demonstrating how this strategy, which has prevented 42 rented families from becoming homeless, saved £16,000 on residents’ food shops, reduced debt and helped individuals into employment can be replicated across local government
  • Exploring the innovative Food Stop funded by local charities and run by the council, a community-led, multi-agency model for local groups and schools to collect surplus food and provide healthy meals as part of their services
  • Ensuring additional council services are integrated into the service such as the council’s Gateway service, providing support with housing, benefits, debt management and social care assessment through drop-in surgeries and other advice services

Finalists at the 2018 London Homelessness Awards Councillor

Alison Butler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services, Croydon Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Using a Community-Powered Technology Platform to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness

  • Outlining the history and model of the online platform, that allows local authorities and charities to refer homeless individuals (or those at risk of homelessness) to be matched with a caseworker who supports them to crowdfund and complete a personalised strengths-based training and work plan
  • Reflecting on the success of the platform since 2017, including partnering with leading charities like Shelter, St Mungo’s and Centrepoint, raising over 10,000 donations from the public to fund training for homeless people, successfully funding 100% of campaigns, and achieving work starts for over 20 homeless people with many more in training
  • Partnering with the Greater London Authority and a growing number of forward-looking local authorities to improve opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, prevent homelessness and achieve measurable social impact and cashable savings 

Winner (1st place), London Homelessness Awards 2018

Winner, ‘Innovation in Technology’ Award at the Homeless Link Excellence Awards 2018

The Financial Times, “Digital Champion”: Top 100 most innovative organisations in Europe 2018

Alex Stephany, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Beam (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Case Study: Exploring a Best Practice Housing First Approach to Tackling Homelessness

  • Exploring the success of the Bench Outreach approach to resolving homelessness through a unique approach of using social housing for homeless individuals resulting in long-term stable homes
  • Highlighting the significance of financial sustainability in a period of Local Authority cuts and achieving this through research with universities, and collaboration with groups such as Lewisham Housing Associations on providing support, legal advice and advocacy
  • Demonstrating how the service was based on research by Homeless Link of 9 Housing First services across England which found that those initially suffering with mental ill-health fell by 15% after using the Housing First service
  • Exploring the future potential for Housing First including expanding the service to women and young people with high support needs and to vulnerable people at high risk of long-term homelessness

Declan Flynn, Chief Executive Officer, Bench (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Partnering on a Housing Campaign to Tackle Rough Sleeping and Homelessness

  • Outlining Wandle’s involvement in ‘Homes for Cathy’, a campaign working towards tackling homelessness by organising local and national events to highlight the necessity of meeting the housing needs of homeless families
  • Exploring how HA’s can tackle homelessness such as through the 9 Homes for Cathy commitments, offering constructive solutions to applicants eligible for a home offer among other key commitments
  • Reflecting on the success of Homes for Cathy in lobbying parliamentarians to deliver changes in legislation that reduce homelessness and advising other organisations on how best to collaborate on tackling homelessness
  • Highlighting the significance of a ‘Community Investment team’, working with local schools to tackle homelessness through helping students to produce a fundraising magazine

Tracey Lees, Chief Executive Officer, Wandle Housing Association (CONFIRMED)


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change


According to the Office for National Statistics, deaths of rough sleepers and those in emergency accommodation rose from 482 in 2013 to 597 in 2017 across England and Wales.

The approximate number of individuals counted sleeping rough on a single night was 4,677 in Autumn 2018 which is an increase of 165% since 2010 according to the government’s Rough Sleeping Statistics, Autumn 2018. Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, between April and June 2018, 58,660 households were owed a new statutory homeless duty. 

The Homelessness Reduction Act came into force in April 2018 and the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy in August 2018, demonstrating a commitment by the government to preventing and relieving the entrenched issue of homelessness. They highlight the duty of local housing authorities in England to provide advisory services, and places new duties on local authorities to assess the cause of homelessness. The Act also emphasises the need for cross-sector collaboration in tackling homelessness. However, according to Shelter, the government’s aim to tackle homelessness needs to take more serious consideration of reform in housing and welfare policy in order to address the causes of homelessness. This includes ensuring that the homeless have access to affordable and suitable accommodation in each local authority area and an adequate Universal Credit system in order to pay for such accommodation. Further to this, the government are progressing towards tackling homelessness, since in March 2019, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced a £1 million fund to increase support for veterans at risk of becoming homeless and an Investment for eleven local authorities to fund access to housing advice or mental health support. Additionally, in April 2019, the Government has committed to ending no-fault evictions which will result in evictions taking place only where there are good reasons. Such a move will help to reduce family homelessness, as Section 21 evictions were found to be the biggest cause of this form of homelessness. 

In order to properly address and eradicate the deep-rooted issues of homelessness and rough sleeping, it is clear that a collaborative, multi-agency approach must be undertaken, with housing associations, the voluntary sector, and central and local government working in tandem to commit to tackling this critical issue. If this is not achieved, a homelessness crisis will become imminent. It is therefore fundamental that housing associations, the voluntary sector, and central and local government come together to learn about correctly implementing the measures explicated in the ‘Rapidly responding to homelessness’ report, as well as trialling new approaches such as Housing First, to achieve the government’s stated aim of eliminating homelessness by 2027.

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