housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

Tackling Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Forum

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:00

Thursday 15 October 2020

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer 10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.


This Forum will provide delegates with the opportunity to gain practical insights into government policy around ending rough sleeping across the UK by 2027. Attendees will hear from key stakeholders, such as Bob Blackman MP author of The Homelessness Reduction Act, Crisis, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Women’s Aid, on leading the way in forging innovative solutions to tackling homelessness across England. Furthermore, award-winning best practice case studies will share successful methods for reducing rough sleeping and supporting homeless people through prevention schemes, rapid rehousing models, 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
  • Homelessness Service Managers
  • Heads of Homelessness
  • Housing Advisers
  • 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:
  • Matthew Downie MBE, Director of Policy and External Affairs, Crisis
  • Molly Bishop, Strategic Lead for Homelessness, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Sarah Davidge, Co-Author – No Woman Turned Away, Women’s Aid
  • Rick Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Homeless Link 
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to research from the Local Government Association (LGA), councils collectively spent £663m on homelessness services in 2018-19. With an increasing demand for homelessness services, councils are struggling to stay within the budget for these services and there have been increasing calls for the government to invest in homelessness prevention.

The publication of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2017 increased the focus on preventing and relieving homelessness by renewing the focus of working in partnership to provide better services to those who are homeless. This was closely followed by the Rough Sleeping Strategy, published by the Government in 2018, which set out a vision to end all rough sleeping by 2027 through prevention, intervention and recovery. In an effort to support vulnerable veterans, an at-risk group for homelessness, the government announced the creation of a £1 million fund to boost the support for this group. This funding, announced in March 2019, will be shared amongst ten combine authorities and the Greater London Authority to provide veterans with services to help them adjust to civilian life. The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenkins, announced in February that the Government will provide £16.6 million to 75 projects across England to provide refuge services for victims of domestic abuse to ensure they are able to access safe permanent housing.

The Government also implemented changes to the housing system to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness. In April 2019, the Government announced that they plan to abolish Section 21 evictions, meaning that private renters cannot be evicted without a legitimate reason from their landlord. This was announced to ensure that tenant rights are protected and that those renting from the private sector have more security. As part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy, the Government announced that it would be launching a Rapid Rehousing Pathway fund which would help support local authorities in establishing clear pathways to long-term housing solutions for the homeless.  In 2018 this led to 11 areas piloting the Somewhere Safe to Stay assessment hubs for rough sleepers, followed by 42 additional early adopter fares being announced by February 2019.

The increase in levels of rough sleeping and homelessness in the UK has prompted the government to boost investment to help those on the street and implement preventative measures to stop rough sleeping in the first instance. The Government announced an additional £112 million in January 2020 as part of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, this funding will be made available to local authorities, charities and other public sector organisations to create 6,000-bed spaces across the country. Additionally, Jobcentres across the UK will benefit from an extra £3 million funding to support homeless people across the country, including creating outreach teams to help rough sleepers to find work, claim benefits and secure stable accommodation.

With the average UK resident being just two paycheques away from homelessness at any given time, it is vital that local authorities, housing associations and other public sector organisations are prepared to support and prevent homelessness. There are over 4,600 people sleeping rough across England overnight so it is vital that local services utilise innovate methods of funding and providing services to ensure all local people experience a fundamental quality of life. The Government’s aim of ending rough sleeping by 2027 means that working in partnership across the voluntary and public sector is more important than ever.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive, Thames Reach (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Current Landscape of Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Across the UK

  • Understanding the impact that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 has had on the rights of homeless people in England and the renewed focus it has given to ending homelessness
  • Outlining the current government strategy for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, including increased funding for the Cold Weather Fund and increasing funding available to local councils in the form of the Homelessness Reduction Grant to provide radical change in the way services are provided to the homeless
  • Discussing the ‘A Safe Home’ campaign established by the APPG for Ending Homelessness to ensuring that people fleeing domestic abuse are guaranteed a safe home from their council
  • Highlighting the future work of the APPG including an inquiry into sustainable solutions to homelessness and tackling homelessness for people with complex needs

Bob Blackman MP, Author, Homelessness Reduction Act and Vice-Chair of The All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness (invited)


Special Keynote: Examining the Current Barriers to Ending Homelessness and the Need for Collaborative Working

  • Outlining the current challenges facing the UK in relation to tackling the homelessness and rough sleeping crisis, including the Vagrancy Act
  • Understanding the current campaigns being run by Crisis, including the ‘A life in Limbo’ campaign that ends the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation for more than seven days
  • Discussing the progress made towards meeting solutions to end homelessness set out in the ‘Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain‘ report published in 2018, including preventative measures to stop people becoming homeless and creating effective housing solutions to support this preventative work
  • Highlighting the need for a long term vision to tackle the homelessness crisis within the UK and the need for partnerships working at a local and national level to improve services and make an end to homelessness a reality

Matthew Downie MBE, Director of Policy and External Affairs, Crisis (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Working in Partnership Organisations to Establish Preventative Measures to Eliminate Rough Sleeping

  • Outlining how Bradford Council developed their homelessness and rough sleeping strategy around the principles of early intervention and partnership working with the voluntary and faith sector
  • Understanding how Bradford council aim to reduce rough sleeping through No Second Night Out services and introduce day shelter services to help provide a safe space for rough sleepers to access services and appropriate accommodation
  • Highlighting how working with the faith and voluntary sector helps to provide access to food, clothing and bathing facilities in a community setting
  • Working in partnership with the health and social care sector to address the needs of rough sleepers, and thoroughly reviewing the deaths of rough sleepers to ensure that future services can reduce these

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Regeneration, Planning and Transport, Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Working in Partnership to Support Rough Sleepers During Covid-19

Gill Taylor, Strategic Lead – Single Homelessness & Vulnerable Adults, Haringey Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing Housing Solutions to Domestic Abuse Survivors to Prevent Homelessness

  • Exploring how the Amari Project, run in collaboration between Solace Women’s Aid and Commonweal Housing, provides housing for women fleeing sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • Understanding the complex needs of this group, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use issues, and the support these require beyond the services of emergency accommodation
  • Outlining how this project has helped 20 women since its inception in 2016, which has allowed them to move on to independent living – showing the significance that good quality housing had on their recovery
  • Discussing how the combination of suitable, independent living and trauma-informed support enabled women to recover and avoid homelessness and rough sleeping

Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive, Commonweal Housing (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Developing and Implementing Effective Homelessness and Rogue Sleeping Strategies in Local Regions

  • Understanding the legal obligations of local housing authorities on the formulation of homelessness strategies within their local regions
  • Outlining how local housing authorities should work closely with other public and voluntary organisations to develop homelessness strategies in line with the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy
  • Discussing how homelessness reviews and strategies should be made in partnership with local housing authorities, social services, private providers of social housing, voluntary organisations and other public bodies
  • Sharing best practice guidance and the development and implementation of homelessness and rough sleeping strategies

Councillor David Renard, Chair, Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, Local Government Authority (invited)


Special Keynote: Examining Greater Manchester’s Approach to End Rough Sleeping

  • Developing and delivering an ‘A Bed Every Night’ principle for Greater Manchester
  • Discussing the Greater Manchester Model for Unified Public Services and what it means for ending rough sleeping
  • Building engagement and collaboration across local government, voluntary and community organisation, housing providers and wider public services
  • Highlighting the importance of public engagement and the steps taken to encourage participation and action

Molly Bishop, Strategic Lead for Homelessness, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Supporting Victims of Domestic Abuse through the No Woman Turned Away Project

  • Outlining how this project had nearly 500 referrals in 2018/2019 with over half receiving specialist support from the service to ensure these women avoided rough sleeping and homelessness whilst waiting for refuge accommodation
  • Highlighting the challenges facing domestic abuse victims accessing refuge spaces including, ties to local areas, mental health support needs and disabilities
  • Discussing the survivor’s experiences of working with local housing and social services, including a lack of affordable housing for women and their children
  • Sharing the current gaps in services for finding refuge for domestic abuse survivors and how local authorities, housing associations and the voluntary sector need to work together to improve these services
  • Understanding the importance of providing specialist services for women to ensure that suitable refuge is found

Sarah Davidge, Co-Author – No Woman Turned Away, Women’s Aid (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Successfully Bidding for and Utilising Funding to Create Homelessness Pathways

  • Outlining how Nottingham City Council successfully bid for over £1.2 million in funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative
  • Understanding how this funding will be utilised to provide specialist services to those leaving prison or hospital to ensure they have a safe living environment, as well as creating emergency shelters and supported housing
  • Highlighting how Nottingham City Council was the first city to pilot a Somewhere Safe to Stay hub (SSTS), a rapid rehousing pathway initiative, this centre assigns rough sleepers a dedicated adviser to help provide more permanent housing situations
  • Discussing how Nottingham City Council plan to utilise this latest funding to build on existing initiatives and provide a much-needed pathway back to permanent housing for those with complex needs

Anne-Marie Furnell, Acting Homelessness Strategy Manager, Nottingham City Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Establishing Robust Healthcare Pathways for Rough Sleepers to Reduce Discharge to the Streets

  • Outlining how the Pathway Homeless Team based at The Royal London Hospital aims to ensure that rough sleepers admitted to hospital do not get discharged back to the streets
  • Understanding how this award-winning scheme works closely with staff within the hospital and housing and social care organisations to ensure that individuals are discharged to a safe place
  • Exploring the complex physical and mental health problems experienced by those who are homeless and the impact it can have to utilise community support to ensure they are not returned to the street
  • Discussing how the team encourage rough sleepers or those in temporary accommodation to register with a doctor to ensure they can be provided with specialist services and help find permanent accommodation

Dr Peter Buchman, Clinical Lead, Pathway Homeless Team, Royal London Hospital (CONFIRMED)


Closing Keynote: Delivering National Projects and Providing Support to Reduce Homelessness in the UK

  • Discussing the commitments needed from Government to increase funding for local authorities to ensure that they can implement comprehensive homelessness strategies
  • Understanding the support provided by Homeless Link to tackle a variety of issues, including the Youth Homelessness project, Housing First England, StreetLink, Ending Women’s Homelessness grants and the Day Centres Project
  • Exploring the resources provided by Homeless Link to help local authorities, charities and other public sector organisations to develop strategies and services for rough sleepers with complex needs
  • Highlighting how Homeless Link supports designated homelessness charities across the UK  and outlining how funding, such as the Cold Weather Fund will be allocated
  • Outlining the need for multi-agency working to end the homelessness crisis by breaking the barriers that stop vital services being provided to individuals with no permanent residence

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive, Homeless Link (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Closing Remarks

*programme subject to change

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