Transatlantic Practice Exchange 2017 – what did we learn?

Monday, 18 September 2017 - 2:36pm

This week sees the launch of the reports from the third Transatlantic Practice Exchange. 

Transatlantic Practice Exchange banner

Our 2017 participants have done a brilliant job of exploring homelessness in different contexts and applying their learning back home. We’ve highlighted just a few of their findings here, and you can download all ten reports below.

Strengths-Based Practice and Systems Change

Ruth Wallbank, formerly of VOICES and now with the MEAM Coalition, explored Strengths-Based Approaches in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She writes that strengths-based practice “ensures that the people accessing our services are at the centre of all we do, are treated with the highest level of dignity and respect, and are not only valued for their innumerable strengths, skills, and assets but are also give real opportunities to use them.”

Wendy Scott, from Greensboro Urban Ministry, was inspired by the approach to system change used by Fulfilling Lives in Brighton & Hove, finding that “user engagement is fundamental to seeing people with lived experience as the experts of systems change, because of their knowledge of the working parts. A fundamental change in how [US] service workers and professionals work with services is required”.

Support for LGBTQ+ youth

Tyler Harmon, from Friendship Place in Washington DC, asked why rates of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth in the US are so much higher than in the UK. He was hosted by the Albert Kennedy Trust in Manchester, Newcastle, and London. Tyler concluded that, although many of the underlying issues relating to LGBTQ+ homelessness are similar, “the UK seems to be further advanced in their strategy for ending and preventing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness… Many of the service providers in the UK seem to have been doing this work for decades”.


Sam Forsdike, from C4WS Homeless Project in Camden, looked at approaches to employment with Heartland Alliance in Chicago. He found a lot in common between US and UK approaches, and noted that “there needs to be a far wider engagement with the intersection of homelessness and employment”. This includes exploring long-term aspirations and “helping a job seeker find value in their work” – it’s about aspiration as well as income.

Engaging with the Private Rented Sector

Nicole Bramstedt, from Urban Pathways in New York, spent two weeks with Crisis in Edinburgh and London to understand their work with the private rented sector (PRS). She concluded that services in New York City “must push to look outside the traditional boundaries that we work within and better engage the PRS.” You can read her Gotham Gazette op-ed here.

Look out for further blogs in October, when we’ll be sharing more details to help you apply for the 2018 Exchange.

Transatlantic Practice Exchange 2017 reports

The Transatlantic Practice Exchange 2017 reports bring together learning and reflections from participants' placements with US and UK homelessness services. The UK group covered Housing First for Women, Employment, Strengths Based Practice and Critical Time Intervention. The US group explored Employment, Youth Homelessness, Engaging the PRS, LGBT+ Support for Youth, and Systems Change for Chronic Homelessness.


Talk To Us

Tasmin Maitland

Head of innovation and good practice

Tasmin leads our innovation and good practice team, managing a range of projects including guidance, the Transatlantic Practice Exchange and the Hostels Action Learning series.

Telephone: 020 7840 4451
Twitter: @Tasmin_IGP