One of the quickest ways to achieve success – and which can give your campaign group real credibility – is to change things you have control over. Multiple service providers and commissioners in the same area too often work separately despite having the shared goal of ending homelessness.
Depending on where you are, there are likely to be a number of ways to change some things yourself. If you or someone else (such as a friendly commissioner) has the ability to bring local stakeholders together to work more closely – that’s a great start! As the group or network develops you can also consider creating and implementing two things:
1. Co-ordinated Access Systems (CAS)
This a way to design, streamline and bring consistency to the process by which people experiencing homelessness access housing and services. A strong CAS uses a Housing First approach alongside a standardised and co-ordinated process for assessment and prioritisation for housing and other services. This enables local providers, services and other organisations to work in partnership. You can find out more here.
2. By Name Lists (BNLs)
This is a real-time list of all people experiencing street homelessness in your city or area, and is a core element of a Co-ordinated Access System. While a Connections Week provides a snapshot of who is homeless and some of their needs and preferences, a By Name List provides the same information on an ongoing basis. This enables your community to know who is currently homeless, and to understand the inflow into your system (the number of people becoming homeless each month) and the outflow from your system (the number of people obtaining permanent housing or otherwise leaving your system each month). A BNL helps you to target housing and services based on an individual’s needs, and can be used by all service providers. This means they can work more effectively to avoid duplication of services. You can find out more here.