Collaboration is key to ending homelessness. Last year, the government response to the review of its 2017 Homelessness Reduction Act highlighted that effective joint working at the local level was imperative to tackling homelessness and that they would continue to encourage this. Partnership working during the coronavirus response also shone a light on the effectiveness and importance of partnership and multiagency working among councils, housing associations and local services in preventing and relieving homelessness.
The NHF is working to provide opportunities for housing associations to learn about partnership working and discuss possible approaches going forwards. Following positive feedback from our joint event with the LGA, “Partnership working around homelessness – lessons learnt and actions for the future”, last month we were delighted to host another event supported by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
The event was an opportunity for housing association, council and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) representatives to come together to discuss ending homelessness. It featured examples of joint working in two different local authority areas and gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss approaches.
Durham County Council and Believe Housing
- Durham County Council (DCC) and Believe Housing have been working together to tackle domestic abuse, and support safeguarding and tenancy sustainment as part of DCC’s county-wide Rough Sleeping Strategy (2019-2022).
- Believe Housing are accredited by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) for their response to domestic abuse. Close partnership working is key to ensuring that survivors are supported as required.
- The approach to Domestic Abuse covers safeguarding, lettings, and tenancy support. Working directly with DCC allows for fast-tracking of lettings and this in turns frees space in refuges.
- Believe Housing and DCC hold a Service Level Agreement intensive support to promote the sustainment of the tenancies of those who may be more at risk to losing their tenancy.
West Midlands Combined Authority and whg Homelessness Taskforce
- West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Homelessness Taskforce’s ‘Commitment to Collaborate toolkit’ has informed whg’s approach to preventing homelessness.
- The toolkit has been designed to help organisations, networks and partnerships work through possible actions that they can take to prevent homelessness at the earliest opportunity, and to consider who else they need to collaborate with in order to make this happen.
- Central to the toolkit, is the positive pathway model, which helps partners to consider how sustainable pathways to prevent and relieve homelessness can be created.
- Partners who can use the toolkit range from public services, businesses, housing providers, police and justice organisations and voluntary and social enterprise organisations. You do not have to be a specialist housing or homelessness organisation to use the toolkit and make a contribution to preventing homelessness.
There was a lot of positive feedback about the event from housing association, local authority and DLUHC colleagues who were interested to hear from organisations about their partnership working experiences. We aim to run more events of this type in future, to continue to promote joint working around homelessness.
Please contact Suzannah Young or Dean McGlynn for more information.