The expert panel that opened Homeless Link’s annual conference agreed that structural, upstream and systemic prevention is key to ending homelessness in England.
Listening to our members
We listened to the feedback members gave through our annual membership survey, and are working to address your main concerns and improve the support and services we offer.
We work alongside you and on your behalf to create positive change in the policy environment and the way services are delivered with the end goal of improving the lives of the people you support. It is our position as a membership body that makes us a strong and unique voice for the sector.
It’s important that we understand what you expect from us, know which of our services you value and recognise your main concerns. One of the ways we do this is through our annual membership survey. In 2017, most of you told us that we represent frontline agencies well, our services are useful and relevant and we do a very good job of raising the profile of the sector.
Highlights from our members
- 90% feel our policy and campaigning work focuses on the important issues
- 79% value the networking opportunities we offer
- 73% rate our research reports and briefings as good or excellent
- 72% regard our good practice and service development advice as good or excellent
- 72% think our advice and support on policy changes and impact is good or excellent
This year we’ll continue to look for ways to improve and make sure we are responding quickly to the complex and ever-changing backdrop.
The top five priority areas that that Homeless Link members would like us to work on this year are:
- The impact of welfare reform changes, including Local Housing Allowance (LHA) caps and the roll out of Universal Credit
- Securing long term funding and sustainable models for supported housing
- Increasing the availability of low cost and good quality move-on accommodation
- Improving funding for services, including protecting funding, sharing alternative funding opportunities and mitigating funding cuts
- Improving and influencing local commissioning, including ensuring commissioners understand the sector and are informed of viable commissioning models.
We are working to address these concerns in various ways, some of which include:
- Homeless Link worked with government and other agencies to secure exemptions for the removal of the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit for 18-21 year olds. We are continuing to work with our members to do all we can to get the Government to reconsider these proposals.
- To help overcome challenges around Universal Credit, we are sharing the difficulties people are experiencing, alongside potential solutions to these issues, at various forums including our annual conference, regional Communities of Practice and Pan- London Umbrella Support project events and with Government.
- We are working to inform the future funding proposals for supported housing. We are calling on the Government to reconsider its plans to apply the LHA rate to these vital services and have provided evidence to the Department of Communities and Local Government, the DWP and Select Committees to highlight the risks of the cap. Since the election in June 2017, we have secured meetings with Ministers to discuss our concerns in more detail.
- Research into homelessness services’ current move-on support has highlighted innovative ways of increasing access to affordable and good quality accommodation, which we will share with the sector. These include using social investment to purchase properties, working in partnership with social landlords and establishing a range of incentives for private landlords to let to this client group and increase the standard of properties.
- We have launched a £4.5 million Social Investment Fund, which offers unsecured repayable loans of £25,000 to £150,000, with the aim of learning where social investment can be most effectively used alongside other forms of funding to improve outcomes.
- Our Communities of Practice share best practice around commissioning models and engage with regional homelessness forums to make contact with commissioners, as a route to improving local commissioning.
Our membership offer
Our membership survey also demonstrated that not all of our members are aware of the full range of services that we provide. As well as access to our good practice tools and guidance and the opportunity to feed into policy consultations, research and other areas of our work, key member benefits include:
- Discounts on all our services including training, events, consultancy and job advertising
- Advice and support from your local Partnership Manager, and Research, Policy and Good Practice teams
- In-Form Community, our FREE-to-members client relationship and service management system, featuring the Homeless Outcomes Star
- The Supported Housing Alliance, which champions the contribution of the supported housing sector and delivers leadership, policy influencing and best practice promotion through training and consultancy
- Regular e-bulletins, with the latest sector news, good practice and more
- Access to a range of discounts on services and products from trusted suppliers
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Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link. Louise is currently on maternity leave.
0207 840 4427