Last week Broadland Housing attended a national Homes for Cathy strategy day on tackling homelessness.
Around 30 other Homes for Cathy members and housing sector partners took part in the event, hosted by Hightown Housing Association.
Homelessness prevention is not all about care and supported housing. It should permeate into every area of a housing association’s policy and operations.Michael Newey, Chief Executive
Also among the speakers on the day, Holly Dagnall of Nottingham Community Housing Association described her organisation’s progress to meet the Homes for Cathy commitments.
Chris Hancock from Crisis explained why homelessness is a housing problem and not about ‘fixing the individual’. He reported that B&B usage has tripled in the last 10 years. Also, that around 300,000 UK households could be forced into homelessness in 2023, driven by the cost of living and impacts of the pandemic.
Key themes and insights
During the strategy meeting, members and partners discussed :
– Housing associations ARE homelessness organisations – if not us, who?
– Board and executive team buy-in for adopting the Homes for Cathy commitments is crucial; an organisation’s work around homelessness should filter down from a strategic level.
– Embedding the commitments is a continuous process, particularly with staff changes – it’s about a culture shift within your organisation.
– Operational outcomes in housing are equally as important as homelessness services (although they are vital too!).
– Data is king – knowing and sharing your data around homelessness metrics/KPIs such as evictions, abandonments and lettings to homeless households helps track the progress your organisation is making and motivates and empowers colleagues to do more.
– Sharing stories is key – every organisation approaches the commitments in their own way and the good practice shared through the Homes for Cathy network is invaluable.