Crisis Housing Support Evaluation (2020)

Crisis’ Evaluation team conducted an evaluation into the housing support offer in our Skylights. Focusing on four Skylights, we used a range of methodologies (success case analysis, focus groups, interviews, case management data) to uncover what works for supporting people out of homelessness.

Key findings

The most effective housing-related support for ending homelessness were:

1.       Advocacy on behalf of a member - Representing a person in a professional capacity, in order to address existing barriers to their rights and entitlements to housing. Work included challenging agencies, councils and landlords on decisions, mediating with housing providers, and providing evidence in court.

2.       Capacity building - Supporting people with life skills relevant to housing, including household budgeting, paying bills and opening bank accounts.

3.       Benefits support - Providing guidance and navigation through the benefits system which poses barriers to accessing housing. Work included helping with eligibility criteria, applications, assessments and appeals processes.

Other highly effective interventions by Skylight staff were: support with searching for and viewing accommodation, financial support, and effective joint working with other organisations.

The mechanisms that make this work more or less successful were:

1.       One-to-one coaching - Especially where the coach-client relationship was based on mutual positivity and trust, and clients saw the same coach rather than different coaches.

2.       Alternative formats - Delivering the support and interventions outlined above in other formats, such as courses or focused drop-in sessions, as a complementary service (but not replacement for) the coaching.

3.       Good quality partnership working - Joint working with other organisations was particularly beneficial for the member when partnerships were formalised, clear remits were set, and frequent communication was used.

Reference: 

Leith, G. with Moisl, E., Albanese, F., Derham, R., Hancock, C. and Haines, L. (2020). Crisis housing support evaluation: Understanding what works to support people out of homelessness. London: Crisis.