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In the wake of the recommendations of the Kerslake Commission into rough sleeping, this week the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Homeless Link welcome the first two groups of learners onto their new joint Level 3 qualification in Supporting Homeless People.


Taken over 20 weeks, this new qualification aims to give frontline staff the skills to practically support someone who is experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness whilst understanding their needs and focusing on their strengths and personal goals.

The pilot comes after the influential cross party Kerslake Commission into rough sleeping recommended in its report that Homeless Link should “convene a consultation on professional accreditation” for frontline homelessness workers, stating that “staff in the homelessness sector support very vulnerable people, often with complex needs and it is essential that they have the right competencies to do this job.”

Homeless Link will be providing delivery of the sessions that make up the qualification, and CIH will be acting as the registered centre, providing assessment and feedback to learners.

Rick Henderson, CEO at the national homelessness membership charity Homeless Link, said: 

“The recent Kerslake Commission report highlighted the skilled work that staff and volunteers in the homelessness sector do every day and the potential need for professional accreditation.

“With our members reporting that they are struggling to recruit, we have already seen the growing evidence of the need for formal qualification to ensure new staff have the knowledge and skills to best support every individual experiencing homelessness. We were delighted to create this pilot with CIH to explore how this accreditation may work in practice.

“We hope this qualification will enable services to ensure a high standard and consistency in the support people experiencing homelessness receive across the country.

“This partnership exemplifies the collaboration we strive for, and we’re excited to work with CIH, with their experience of professional standards, to respond to the needs of our members and the wider sector.”

Sarah Dunkerley, director of professional development at the Chartered Institute of Housing said:

“We’re extremely excited to be working with Homeless Link to deliver this qualification, and hopefully, if the pilot is successful, we will be able to open this up to the wider housing and homelessness sector.”

“Completing a qualification is a fantastic way of establishing yourself as a professional, ensuring you have the theoretical knowledge, key skills and learning to perform your day job at the highest level.”

“By partnering with Homeless Link, the content in this qualification will be relevant, up-to-date and provide learners with the understanding to support people experiencing homelessness.”

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James Cuming

Training Manager

James develops and manages Homeless Link's team training programme.