There are a wide variety of services and interventions for homeless people in the UK. Research and evaluations of these are vital as they demonstrate what works and how better practice and support can be developed.
If homelessness is to be ended, this information needs to be used to ensure that policy and practice are directed by knowledge of what works and what does not.
Single homelessness support
Support for single homeless people is predominantly delivered by third sector organisations. Many interventions and evaluations have been instigated and funded by government. For example:
- The Rough Sleepers Initiative
- The Homelessness Transition Fund
- The Private Renting Access Development Programme
- No Second Night Out (PDF).
Statutory support often excludes single homeless people with services differing greatly across the UK. There is evidence to suggest that homeless people are turned away from support and find it difficult to access housing and services to end their homelessness. (Nations Apart, 2014 and Turned Away, 2014).
Centre for Homelessness Impact
To achieve the goal of ending homelessness we also need to understand what works in order to address the issue through evidence and data. This needs to involve making funding and investment decisions on solutions that have a positive impact on addressing homelessness.
The aim of the proposed Centre for Homelessness Impact is to be a force for evidence-based change to tackle homelessness. The Centre will strengthen insight into what works, pushing for interventions to be evaluated, to raise awareness about the need to use evidence and data to make better decisions.
See the feasibility study Ending homelessness faster by focusing on ‘what works’, 2017 on how this will be achieved.
Evaluations of Crisis services
Crisis Skylights provide holistic support for housing, education, training and employment, health and arts based activities across Great Britain. A series of evaluations have been undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the Skylight model and to improve the outcomes for people who use these services.
A longitudinal evaluation of the Skylight model showed that one to one support and education can deliver progression into paid work. Improvements to mental health, self-esteem and wellbeing were made but outcomes were more uneven than progression into paid work. Improvements in housing security were also delivered but challenges existed in high pressure housing markets (Crisis Skylight: Final Report, 2017).
The Scottish Government has for the first time published its own figures revealing the average time someone spends in temporary accommodation.
Crisis commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) to estimate the expected costs and benefits of achieving its plan through the different combinations of interventions (solutions) which Crisis has identified are necessary to address and prevent homelessness.
This plan outlines the evidence-based solutions that can end homelessness in Great Britain, built round the belief that everyone should have – and is ready for – a safe, stable place to live.
Crisis commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence to produce a rapid evidence assessment (RAE) to understand what services work, to address and end homelessness, and to assess the quality of evidence that exists in published studies.
To develop our plan to end homelessness we needed vital input from organisations working in and around the homelessness sector, and from people with lived experience of homelessness.
As part of the first phase of Crisis’ ‘Have Your Say’ consultation on how to end homelessness, Uscreates were asked to design workshops with people with lived experiences of homelessness that could be scaled across the UK.