A new map of London’s homelessness services

Monday, 24 September 2018 - 1:16pm

The London Housing Foundation (LHF) is developing an exciting new website mapping London’s homelessness services: find out why and how.

Homeless man

The network of support provided to people without dependent children facing homelessness in London is large and complex. While rough sleeping figures get a lot of publicity, the services that support this group are sometimes less visible. There are no particular ‘go-to’ statistics to describe the ‘sector’ (one key part of the current solution) in the way that street counts and CHAIN statistics describe the problem.  

London’s Homelessness Services operate across 33 local authority areas, are delivered by 100’s of providers and there are 1000’s of bed spaces along with many other services – no wonder its hard to get a handle on! Understanding that messy web of provision and how it is spread across London plays an important part in improving our collective response to rough sleeping. Getting this overview, whether pan-London or within a borough or group of boroughs, helps those working in homelessness to identify gaps and opportunities.

Atlas of London’s Homelessness services

It’s ten years since the first LHF Atlas of London’s Homelessness services was published. It was designed to give an ‘at a glance’ overview of the range and quantity of single homelessness services in London and was targeted at those working in leadership, strategy, policy, research and business development – as well as anyone else interested in getting that sense of the sector as a whole in the capital. The Atlas took the form of a PDF report including maps, tables and commentary and had a core of regular users in the homelessness sector that found the mapping aspect of the Atlas particularly helpful.

In 2017, the LHF decided to explore ways of expanding the use of the Atlas and harnessing new technology that had developed since its initial conception. Stakeholders told us that an interactive, web-based product would be more useful to them and more appropriate for the second decade of the Atlas.

Online maps and information

The LHF commissioned Homeless Link to produce the Atlas, due to the combination of technical and data management skills in the existing Information and Digital teams. The teams identified that ‘Tableau’ software would be an appropriate tool to develop online mapping and are working intensively with a specialist developer on this aspect of the project. The online maps and information presented will be added to over time.  

Alongside the technical development, the Information Team at Homeless Link is collecting new and updated information about each single homelessness service via phone and email to ensure the best quality data possible for the first release. We are very grateful to the organisations helping Homeless Link compile and update information about their services.

The success of the new Atlas will be determined by the quality of data and extent of use. If you have ideas for the Atlas to make it more useful to you or you see anything that is incorrect or needs updating once the maps are published we welcome your feedback and will be able to make small updates at any time. We already have a list of growing list of exciting ideas about future developments.

The LHF will officially ‘launch’ the Atlas at the London Homelessness Awards in October, with online publication to follow in December.

Anyone with ideas or questions about the Atlas can contact the Information Gareth Thomas, Information Manager at Homeless Link on gareth.thomas@homelesslink.org.uk or 020 7840 4454.

Talk To Us

Becky Rice

Research Consultant

Becky is an independent research consultant project managing the Atlas for the London Housing Foundation