We were recently invited to deliver keynote presentations at two regional workshops hosted by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Between the two meetings, held at the beginning of March in London and in Manchester, NFNO presented to Rough Sleeping Grant and Trailblazer projects covering the whole of England – from Southampton to Tyneside.
As the first project to design and deliver a ‘No First Night Out’ model, Kirsty our Project Manager and Christian our Pathway Coordinator took the opportunity to share our experiences and key learning from the past two and a half years, and to promote the potential successes of a service focussed on prevention.
Our presentation also presented some challenges to the government including:
- The importance of clear, consistent funding streams for prevention services
- The need for the government to take a more leading role in collating better national comparative data about the ‘pre-rough sleeper’ in order to design better services, and
- The impact welfare reform and the rollout of Universal Credit has had on individuals who struggle to access affordable accommodation, and how this is making it increasingly difficult for services to support vulnerable people
We received some really positive feedback from our colleagues from other homelessness projects, as well as from the MHCLG’s Rough Sleeping advisors, all of whom have been seconded from senior roles in the homelessness sector.
It was great to hear about the innovative and effective work happening to help people to avoid rough sleeping for the first time, in the areas of health, faith and community organisations, peer research and advocacy, as well as some new approaches to supporting those already rough sleeping.
The combined impact of all this hard work has clearly made a massive difference to the lives of so many people facing the traumatic and lamentable experience of homelessness. The more we can do to coordinate and combine our efforts the bigger difference we can make.
The workshops also acted as inspiration for our own National Homelessness Prevention Event taking place in the City of London on 17th May. If you are a Rough Sleeping Grant or Trailblazer project and would like to attend please get in touch with us!
Thanks to the MHCLG for inviting us to take part in these really essential learning events.