Housing First and Community Hosting models take centre stage at youth homelessness conference

Youth homelessness charity Rock Trust has announced the full line-up for speakers at its annual conference in September, and this year the spotlight will be on new research and evidence of successful strategies for preventing and ending youth homelessness.

Dr Beth Watts, senior research fellow at I-SPHERE (the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research) at Heriot-Watt University, will be returning to the conference, having chaired in 2017, to talk about her recently published report exploring the role of Community Hosting (including Supported Lodgings and Nightstop) as a response to youth homelessness in Scotland.

Also joining an influential and international line-up of speakers is Juha Kaakiken, CEO of the Y-Foundation, Finland’s largest non-profit housing provider. Juha will be discussing the Finnish Housing First Model, how Housing First has been implemented in Finland, and recent achievements of Finnish Homelessness policy.

In 2017 the Rock Trust launched a pilot of the first ever Housing First for Youth service in the UK, and will be taking the opportunity to share how this project has developed, the impact so far, and how the Housing First model can be adapted and implemented for the benefit of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

In addition, delegates will also hear from Kerry Watson - service manager for Cyrenians Mediation and Support, Stephen Gaetz – director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Melanie Redman – co-founder, president and CEO of A Way Home Canada and Liam McCallum, A Way Home Scotland coalition co-ordinator.

Delegates can expect a day of dynamic discussion and interactive learning, exploring the full journey of support for young people at risk of homelessness, with sharing of best-practice and pioneering new strategies from across Scotland, Europe and Canada.

The Rock Trust National Conference has been described by a previous attendee as “very informative and aimed at a wide audience (both operational and strategic). The speakers were very interesting and had insightful comments… it was one of the best conferences I have been to in several years”.

Rock Trust CEO Kate Polson said: “The range of speakers and the topics being covered continue to be varied and we hope that they will be thought provoking and encourage people to look at innovative options for delivering the goal of ending youth homelessness.”

The conference takes place on Tuesday September 18 at the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor and tickets are still available via the Rock Trust website.

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