Really making every contact count

Posted: August 17, 2012 in Rough sleeping
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So now we have the Government’s second step on the path to ending homelessness – Making every contact count http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/2200459.pdf. And it’s OK – the suggestions (can’t have a strategy or a plan in these days of localism) are all sensible and it’s great to see the quotes from Homeless Link’s expert panel at the beginning of the chapters. But the focus is actually quite narrow; it only addresses itself to actions that can be taken by government (national and local) or by commissioned and publically funded services. Some great new services will be launched or expanded – but how will they be linked with and publicised to the wider community? Homelessness is far too important an issue to be restricted to an expert domain. I am strongly of the opinion that, as a nation, we will only adequately deal with homelessness when we recognise that it is a problem that affects us all: society, communities, families and individuals (and I don’t mean just those families and individuals who themselves experience homelessness). So while I warmly welcome the 10 local challenges in the report I also urge those forming local multi-agency partnerships to ensure that non-commissioned, faith linked services are at the table alongisde commissioned services and other agencies. The experience of local Homelessness Forums demonstrates the value of this. So I call on Housing Justice’s members, and all church and faith linked projects to do two things. First to step forward and join the party – I don’t believe the commissioned services and Local Authorities can or should be doing this alone. And secondly I foresee a vital role for HJ Members and supporters in holding their Local Authorties to account – watch out for a resource from Housing Justice to enable you all to do just that!

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