Your campaign will need good evidence to back up your calls for change. In Section 2 we provided a template to help you to identify where local data and evidence may already exist – internally or publicly available. Having assessed what’s available it’s likely that you will need to gather further evidence. Here are some of the most important methods.
Conduct a ‘Connections Week’
A Connections Week connects those working in homelessness organisations, those sleeping on the streets, and the wider local community. Local campaign teams (usually community volunteers) go out on the street to speak with individuals about their journey on to the streets and their situation now. The results are used to make sure services and support reflects the needs, hopes and wishes of homeless people. To gather data, most campaign cities use a survey called the ‘VI-SPDAT’ (Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritisation Decision Assistance Tool)
City example: This campaign blog describes the initial survey findings from a Connections Week in Brighton.
Carry out or commission specific research
Several cities have carried out or commissioned research to get the information they need.
- Valencia – RAIS conducted wider regional research which backed up local findings
- Torbay – commissioned an independent feasibility study into Housing First showing how it could be introduced locally, for whom, and the likely cost
- Leicester conducted their Connections Week survey in partnership with the local university
Work with others to create and implement a By Name List
By Name Lists are real-time lists of all people experiencing street homelessness in your city or area. You can find out more here.
Housing Market Assessments
You want to end street homelessness – but where will people be housed? Many areas lack sufficient affordable housing stock but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done. Analysing the current market will help you think about where additional housing supply could come from and help you plan on an interim basis. This tool can help.
While it may not include exactly what you need, find out if a Strategic Housing Market Assessment has been carried out by your city or municipality. Here is an example from Scotland.
The media can be a helpful source of information and support. People’s own stories of their experience of homelessness are important in conveying the human cost as well as the endurance and hope behind statistics.