Every day, we work with people experiencing homelessness to help them get off, and stay off, the streets. Last year alone, we supported over 2,600 people to turn their lives around.
We see an average of 150 people come through our doors daily – all of whom have a different story, different experiences and different backgrounds.
However, when we’re trying to help people get that all-important roof over their head and rebuild their lives, there are consistent barriers we encounter that we struggle to overcome. It doesn’t – and should not – have to be this way.
Over the last six months, we have conducted a wide-ranging consultation with all of our service teams. We asked them to systematically identify the barriers they face to supporting people out of homelessness. Focussing on what would impact the largest numbers of people and have the greatest impact, we also set about identifying what changes are required to overcome these barriers.
The following five changes would make a fundamental difference to people’s lives:
Five Policy Changes That Would Radically Combat Homelessness
1. Increase the availability of quality accommodation with more support for people to access and sustain tenancies
2. Improve access to mental health and addiction services to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness
3. Improve the administration of benefits so it does not hinder people’s ability to avoid or escape homelessness
4. Make benefit levels, wages and the reliability of working hours sufficient for people to afford rent, along with more affordable rent levels
5. Reform reconnection and resettlement through a national framework to represent viable options for people to escape homelessness
Our full report which explains these five changes in further detail is available here – Five Policy Changes That Would Radically Combat Homelessness
Charities such as ours have a duty to give a voice to the people we help and ensure their experiences are relayed to those in power. We are determined to use our unique position in Westminster and our years of expertise to fight against homelessness and call for the policy changes we know would help people to avoid and escape homelessness.
This is just the beginning, and we know that much more needs to be done to achieve these changes.
Over the coming months, we will build robust evidence for the need for each policy change. We will work further with our service teams, partners and people experiencing homelessness, to tell the stories of their experiences.
We will identify, engage with and seek to persuade those who have the power over these policies. And we will build momentum toward these changes becoming reality.
Homelessness is not inevitable – we know that we can overcome it. To achieve this, however, will take all of us, at all levels of society, working together. Let’s start now.