The charity Homeless Link can today (17/03/22) announce that it has been awarded the contract to manage the CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network system) for an initial three years from April 2022.
CHAIN is a multi-agency database recording information about people sleeping rough and the wider street population in London. The system, which is commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority, represents the UK's most detailed and comprehensive source of information about rough sleeping.
CHAIN was previously managed by the charity St Mungo’s on behalf of the Greater London Authority, but Homeless Link, the national membership charity for frontline homelessness organisations in England, will now take this role over from April.
CHAIN reports will continue to be hosted on the London Datastore, while CHAIN users will experience no disruption when the service is handed over.
Matt Harrison, Deputy CEO at Homeless Link, said:
“CHAIN is a vital resource, used by over 1,200 staff across London and is the UK’s most detailed and comprehensive source of information about rough sleeping. Therefore, we are delighted to announce this news.
“We expect a seamless transition, with no difference for CHAIN users in the short-term. In the long-term we hope to use our experience of managing large databases in the homelessness sector to build on St Mungo’s great work, and deliver a programme of improvements to make sure CHAIN continues to play a key role in supporting people off the streets and out of homelessness for good.”
Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing said:
“I’d like to thank Homeless Link for taking on the CHAIN database for the next three years. As a country-leading database on rough sleeping, the information we get from CHAIN enables us to collect vital information about Londoners who are sleeping rough and support them to get the help they need.
“CHAIN has been pioneered by City Hall and we urge the government to learn from our example to start to collect more timely and comprehensive information about rough sleeping across the country. With tools like these, we can all work together and provide the best possible support to homeless people in London and beyond.”
Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s said the transfer was a pivotal point in CHAIN’s long-standing history with St Mungo’s, and that the team would be missed.
“The CHAIN team, together with our partners at the Greater London Authority, have been invaluable in helping the sector to better understand the issue of homelessness in London so that providers can work together to offer the right support and services to those having to sleep rough.
“It is great to know that this work will carry on under the stewardship of Homeless Link and that expertise and information will continue to be provided across the homelessness sector. We look forward to continuing to work together to support our clients, and I extend my thanks to the CHAIN team on behalf of everyone at St Mungo’s.”
Notes to editors
About Homeless Link
Homeless Link is the national membership charity for frontline homelessness services, representing over 900 organisations across England. We work to improve services through research, guidance and learning, and campaign for policy change that will ensure that everyone has a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.
CHAIN is a pan-London database used by rough sleeper outreach and other services. it aims to facilitate appropriate info sharing to improve the support/service that individuals receive. Also provides reports and statistics, and support research, to facilitate better understanding of the issues and effective solutions to rough sleeping.
The GLA advertised the contract to provide the CHAIN service in 2021 and ran a competitive tender process by which interested organisations submitted bids. At the end of a thorough discernment process, Homeless Link’s bid was chosen as the most advantageous, and the contract awarded accordingly.