Ministers back Centre for Homelessness Impact joining What Works Network



National What Works advisor Dr David Halpern has today welcomed the Centre for Homelessness Impact as a new member of the What Works Network.

Its membership has also been backed by communities secretary James Brockenshire MP as well as ministers Kevin Stewart MSP and Julie James AM and the Centre’s founding partners at Crisis and The Homeless Network.

The Network brings together a group of What Works Centres that exist to enable policy makers, commissioners and practitioners to make decisions based upon strong evidence of what works and to provide cost-effective, useful services.

The What Works movement emerged over the past few years in other fields to help find more ways to link evidence to policy and practice after NICE led the way creating evidence-based recommendations for practitioners about effective management and treatments in the health, public health and social care networks sector.

Another What Works Centre, The Education Endowment Foundation, is transforming the use of research in raising the attainment of young people facing disadvantage, both by generating new evidence of what improves teaching and learning, as well as by then supporting schools across the country to implement the most promising programmes and approaches.

The announcement comes as the Centre celebrates its first anniversary and becomes a fully independent organisation. The Centre launched in 2018 to act as a catalyst for evidence-led change to enable those working in and around homelessness to achieve breakthrough results. It was created by Crisis and The Homeless Network in response to the need for an independent voice that can focus on ensuring that policy and practice are informed by reliable evidence.

As well as synthesising and sharing the best available evidence through their flagship evidence tools, the Centre will commission new research to fill the most pressing gaps in understanding ‘what works’ and will work with others to invest in research where it is needed. The Centre will also continue to produce resources, frameworks and training to help policy-makers and practitioners to use data and evidence for decision-making. It will bring in experts from across the world to help create a learning culture which is focused on helping people out of homelessness, drawing on human-centred design principles and rigorous evidence.

The new Centre will work collaboratively with others in the Network to help create capacity in homelessness across the United Kingdom and beyond.

Dr Ligia Teixeria, chief executive, Centre for Homelessness Impact, said: “Better evidence-informed policymaking and practice is crucial to ending homelessness for good. Acknowledging the limits of our knowledge – what will work, when, and for who - opens the door to a powerful and pragmatic approach to dramatically increase the impact of our efforts. This is what the ‘What Works’ movement is about which is why we are delighted to join the Network. We now look forward to working with other Centres to magnify the impact of our work.”

Dr David Halpern, National What Works advisor, said: “I am delighted to welcome the CHI to the What Works Network. There is an opportunity to improve the life chances of people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness by focusing on what works, pushing for interventions to be evaluated, and creating a movement that believes all citizens are better off when policymakers and practitioners value evidence and know how to use it.”

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “No-one should ever be without a home and the Government is committed to preventing and reducing all forms of homelessness. Our Rough Sleeping Initiative is providing an estimated 2,600 additional beds and 750 more support staff for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Having access to strong, high-quality evidence about what works and what doesn’t can help to ensure we are making the most efficient and effective interventions we can – making a real and lasting impact on reducing homelessness and ensuring everyone has a place to call home.

“I’m delighted to see the Centre for Homelessness Impact join the Government’s network of centres which provide evidence for public decision-making and we look forward to working with the Centre on how we can use the evidence they provide towards our goal of making homelessness a thing of the past.”

Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing for the Scottish Government, said: “Our £50 million action plan to end homelessness focuses on prevention and supporting people quickly into settled, permanent accommodation. While we want to reduce time spent in temporary accommodation, we want to make sure it is of the highest standard to support those vulnerable people who need it.

“When homelessness occurs, we want to ensure a quick and effective response to end rough sleeping by joining up planning and sharing resources across all frontline services.

“The causes of homelessness can be complex, so gathering a strong evidence base is critical to developing and implementing effective policy. A central source and knowledge on homelessness, such as the Centre of Homelessness Impact, can help inform the decisions of the Scottish Government and its partners and help us to achieve our aim of ending homelessness in Scotland.”

Julie James AM, minister for housing and local government for the Welsh Government, added: “Homelessness can have a devastating effect on individuals and families. Homelessness is about so much more than just housing. Preventing and addressing it involves all public services working together in a person centred, trauma informed way.

“Welsh Government is committed to tackling homelessness, making it brief, rare and non-recurrent, and we are investing £30 million over this year and next year to support our efforts. The work of the Centre for Homelessness Impact is already helping policymakers across the UK as we strive to invest in the right interventions to ensure long term impact in this area. Joining the What Works Network will enable them to build on this work and I look forward to seeing its development.”

Maggie Brünjes, chief executive of the Homeless Network in Scotland, said: “Everyone benefits if we do more of what works to solve homelessness and less of what doesn’t. We are so proud that the Centre has been accepted into the What Works Network with all the rigour and learning that will come from that. The Centre is now very well placed to help us shift our thinking and resources toward the most informed actions that can have the biggest impact.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have been part of the creation of the Centre for Homelessness Impact, and it’s great news that the centre has been granted the What Work’s status. We know that homelessness can be solved, and crucial to this is building a greater understanding of the issue in all its forms, as well as the solutions that will help end it once and for all. The CHI has already made important strides in this work and we know that it will continue to be valuable in making the goal of ending homelessness a reality.”



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