New homelessness prevention centre set to launch in 2018

The new Centre for Homelessness Impact’s Shadow Supervisory Board

A new sector led centre to tackle homelessness through evidence-based solutions is set to formally launch in spring 2018 after Crisis and Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN) successfully secured funding from a philanthropist and backing from the Scottish and UK governments.

To be based in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, the Centre for Homelessness Impact will analyse how to most effectively prevent and tackle homelessness. It will help policy-makers, commissioners and front-line practitioners build and use evidence about ‘what works’, supporting them to make effective use of resources and to improve impact. In all its work, the Centre will strive to make evidence accessible - through training, support for innovation, and interactive tools.

The announcement follows the publication in January 2017 of the feasibility study, Ending Homelessness Faster by Focusing on ‘What Works’.

The Centre will be headed by Dr Ligia Teixeira, formerly head of research and evaluation at Crisis, as centre director with Margaret-Ann Brunjes of GHN as chair. The Centre aims to become fully independent by spring 2019. Its work will be directed by a board of nine members comprising senior leaders from the public, private and charitable sectors. Core funding has been committed to the venture, initially for three years, by philanthropist Humphrey Battcock.

The initial programme of work for the Centre will include:

  • Creating an evidence map and ‘what works’ guide to steer investment in homelessness services towards activities with the greatest impact
  • Develop an outcomes framework to help provide consistent aims and objectives
  • Designing standards of evidence to help service providers and policy makers improve decisions about which interventions are most effective
  • The Centre team will work closely with strategic partners to deliver this work, including: the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, the Campbell Collaboration, Dartington Service Design Lab, Heriot-Watt University, the Faculty for Inclusion Health, the Wales Centre for Public Affairs, and the Alliance for Useful Evidence.

    The Centre’s Shadow Supervisory Board includes:

    • Stephen Aldridge, director for analysis and data Department for Communities and Local Government
    • Humphrey Battcock, Philanthropist
    • Margaret-Ann Brunjes, director of Glasgow Homelessness Network and Board chair
    • Lesley Fraser, director of housing and social justice, Scottish Government
    • Professor Kenneth Gibb, director UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence
    • Julie Hunter, business strategy manager North Lanarkshire Council
    • Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis
    • James Turner, deputy chief executive Education Endowment Foundation
    • Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, chief executive Royal Society of Edinburgh.
    • Scottish minister for local government and housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, said: “I am delighted to give my backing to this new Centre for Homelessness Impact.

      “We have set out significant commitments to eradicate homelessness and rough sleeping in Scotland. That includes the formation of a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, set up in October, backed by £50 million to drive change over the next five years.

      “To meet these commitments we must use the power of evidence to ensure that we take actions that are going to really work, and do the most good possible for every pound spent. The Centre will be an important resource for the Action Group and others to draw on, helping to guide decisions and actions in the longer term.”

      UK homelessness minister Marcus Jones MP said: “It’s great news that funding has been secured for a new Centre to prevent and reduce homelessness more effectively.

      “This is a clear priority for this Government and insights from the Centre have the potential to provide us with a much deeper understanding of the most promising approaches in this area.”

      Margaret-Ann Brunjes, director of the Glasgow Homelessness Network, said: “It’s tough being homeless and, in all our different roles, it’s hard to be sure that what we decide and deliver is also what’s most effective. This Centre wants to help make that task easier and people’s lives better. This is an idea tested and now launching in Scotland but with real interest to the rest of the UK and beyond. I’m especially pleased to have the opportunity to support a uniquely qualified Board whose vast experience will guide and connect the Centre’s first steps.”

      Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, added: “Together, the homelessness sector helps many thousands of people each year – but we still have a long way to go before we end homelessness for good. This initiative has the potential to develop the means to do just that by helping the sector to harness the power of evidence and data to improve the impact of our work and make a real step change.”

      To receive updates about the initiative, follow the Centre’s new twitter account @homelessimpact or sign up to the newsletter on its website.

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