Changing local systems to get #EveryoneInForGood

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 - 2:35pm

Why systems change? And why now? Fiona Colley, Homeless Link’s Director for Social Change, introduces new guidance produced with Collaborate, which puts the sector’s experiences at the heart of this complex issue

Today Homeless Link launches a new publication Changing Local Systems, which unpicks what we really mean by local systems change in the homelessness sector. Systems change is something we often talk about, but getting beneath the theory can be difficult. We partnered with Collaborate CIC to help us understand how the sector has embraced the idea of systems change and share examples of different ways it is already being put into practice.

We publish the report to coincide with our Everyone In for Good Conference. It seemed prescient that at this point in the sector’s ongoing response to the pandemic, we consider how local systems can and should be driving change in the challenging period ahead of us. With the covid-19 crisis, we have seen local systems tested, stretched and flexed in new ways. It has shown what is possible when people work together to achieve changes they could not achieve on their own. And this is something we know is at the heart of real, systemic change: it is the work of many, but achieving it is hard work, and takes energy, commitment and a certain generosity of spirit.

Systems change is about working together to shift the factors holding complex problems like homelessness in place. It is about identifying what those factors are and working to dislodge them one by one. What we have tried to show in our new report is what a ‘healthy system’ might look like at a local level, and the different ways local areas and organisations are working to create this. We want to break down the idea of systems change into something that is within our reach, to provide a starting point, and some inspiration to others.

At a time when our members and their partners are likely to face local lockdowns, increasing demand and further financial pressures over the coming months, this might feel like something that can wait. But we want to show it is still possible. This publication is based in an argument of hope. Not everything can be changed, but some things can. Everything that is needed to transform local responses to homelessness is probably already happening somewhere, and we need to learn from this. So with this in mind, we hope this report is a good place to start. 

Changing Local Systems - Practical guidance for people working to improve local responses to homelessness

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Fiona Colley

Director for Social Change

Fiona leads Homeless Link’s campaigning and thought leadership activities within the homelessness sector and beyond, with responsibility for our policy, research, communications and digital functions. She is also responsible for our StreetLink service, a 24/7 website and phone line to enable members of the public to connect rough sleepers to local services.

Telephone: 07920 054167
Email: Fiona.colley@homelesslink.org.uk
Twitter: @fionamcolley