Looking forward - New Year message from Rick Henderson

Wednesday, 8 January 2020 - 8:24pm

Our CEO, Rick Henderson, looks at the challenges facing the sector in 2020 and the responses we want to see. 

As we emerge from the other side of the seasonal festivities, I am of course very aware that the majority of our members have continued to provide 24 hour, 365 day services for people needing support during the Christmas period. For our part, we have ensured that people looking for information and advice during this time are able to find the right services.

My team at Homeless Link is busy delivering our plan for the ways in which we will continue to support our members in 2020. We are developing new and existing networking and learning opportunities as well as new practice guidance for the workforce at all levels, the tools to support the customer journey through In-Form, and the research and information mapping to gather evidence about the landscape for homelessness services.

We have written to all of the new and re-elected MPs in the first days of the New Year, with an offer to meet to learn about our work, to be introduced to our members in their constituencies, and to hear about the evidence we have gathered through our research on the current state of homelessness.  And of course we will continue to deliver the message that the structural issues underlying all forms of homelessness must be addressed before it can be ended for good.

Following our successful collaborative #EndHomelessnessNow campaign where we partnered with some of our members to deliver a set of clear messages, it is time to hold the government to account to remind it of the changes we need to see, which include:

  • Increase the supply of, and access to, truly affordable housing
  • Increase the investment in welfare support to help prevent people becoming homeless
  • Provide greater support to non-UK nationals who are at risk of homelessness
  • Ensure that homelessness services are fully funded and fit for the future
  • Ensure a cross departmental approach to tackling homelessness.

We want to ensure that those positive manifesto commitments that were made are followed through, and to seek stronger commitments to ending homelessness, where these were not apparent in the manifesto.

We’ll be seeking new ambassadors for Homeless Link, beyond our membership, to help us raise awareness and engage with our members to look for local solutions, supported by national action.  As the sector body, we want to continue to listen, learn, act and speak for the sector as we move into 2020 and beyond.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible as I travel around the country visiting our members and stakeholders this year, and to welcoming you to our 2020 events, including the annual conference.  There is a lot to do as we move into the new decade – and we are ready to rise to the challenge.