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In a recent interview, Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link, highlighted that many who work in our sector have a real vocation for their work – an empathy for others and a strong belief that everyone should have a place to call home.

But the sector faces significant challenges including insecure and short-term funding, retention issues, complex working conditions, have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and more recently the cost-of-living crisis.

Now more than ever, the homelessness sector needs to focus its attention on supporting its workforce to develop their skills, knowledge, behaviours and wellbeing, to be able to support people who are facing multiple disadvantage.

Encouragingly, the Homeless Link workforce survey in 2022 revealed that 89% of the homelessness workers agree that it is rewarding to work in the sector and 85% account making positive differences to people’s lives a key draw to working in the sector.

A career in homelessness is a rewarding career and we hope the new Skills Framework will help to shape the development of the profession.

An introduction to the framework

Currently there is no formal pathway for people looking to develop their skills and knowledge within the homelessness sector. Without a formal career development pathway, it has proven difficult in recent years to attract, hire and retain people in the sector, partly because there is little understanding of what a career in the sector looks like.

The Skills Framework will bridge that gap by serving as a tool to connect the understanding between knowledge, skills and behaviours that underpin the services delivered.  The framework can be used by those who are currently working in frontline roles to develop their skills, by managers to support their team to develop, as well as individuals who are looking to move into the homelessness sector

The objectives of the Skills Framework include:

  • To provide consistency, clarity and a professional benchmark of the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for roles across the sector
  • To recognise and celebrate the diverse skills that are essential for delivering successful services
  • To be used as a practical tool to attract, retain and develop dedicated and skilled staff and volunteers across the sector

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

To ensure the Skills Framework is inclusive and accessible to all we have commissioned an EDI partner, EMBED. We are working closely with EMBED to ensure that:

  • The content is inclusive. We will create content that supports everyone to learn new skills and focuses on better supporting people who are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably housed.
  • The communication is inclusive. EMBED will provide guidance on the communication style and tone to make sure the Skills Framework is welcoming for everyone.
  • The Framework is accessible. We will make sure the framework is easy to use so the widest number of people can access it.