Creating the change: our strategy to end homelessness

Friday, 13 July 2018 - 12:41pm

CEO Rick Henderson introduces Homeless Link’s new strategy for the next three years.

Creating the Change front cover

On 2 July 2018, at the Homeless Link’s annual conference, we launched our new strategy, Creating the Change. It is our plan to take us through the next three years (2018-2021), a plan to help us work alongside our members to achieve our vision; that everyone should have a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.

The new strategy reflects the changing landscape in which we all operate, bringing together our vision and values to set out in clear terms how Homeless Link will play its part in ending homelessness. As the membership body for the homelessness and supported housing sector in England, representing over 750 diverse organisations, we are in a unique position to understand and assess the scale and nature of the challenge.

We’ve achieved a lot since we published our last strategy, Making the Difference, in 2015. Together with our members, our work has had a real and wide-reaching impact which has improved services and transformed lives. Now we want to go further.

We believe there is no place for homelessness in the 21st century.

You said, we listened

In informing and developing our strategy, we consulted with our members and hope our priorities reflect this and that you feel that you were listened to. The sector is facing a challenging time with a rise in rough sleeping and homelessness, ongoing cuts to funding and changes to commissioning, welfare reform changes, the crisis in housing supply and affordability, along with an increase in the complexity of needs of the people you are supporting. Working with our members’ we will continue to speak out against the social injustice of homelessness and act to effect positive change.  

What next?

Over the next three years, alongside our members and experts by experience, we believe that Homeless Link is a part of the solution to ending homelessness, taking action and creating the change.

To achieve this, our mission is to develop, inspire, support and sustain a movement of organisations working together to achieve positive futures for people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Our approach is to listen and learn, act and then speak.

Our four strategic aims bring together our vision and values and describe the action that we will take.

Our four strategic aims are:

1. Preventing homelessness and ending rough sleeping through:

  • Ensure that the structural – as well as personal - causes of homelessness are understood, addressed and mitigated in order to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place
  • Identify, support and promote policy and practice responses across the whole of government and other agencies that will effectively end homelessness and reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough
  • Champion a systems change approach to permanently end rough sleeping that ensures there is no return to current high levels of people sleeping on our streets
  • Promote a co-produced, cross-sector collaborative approach to supporting people experiencing multiple disadvantage and address systemic blockages and barriers
  • Identify interventions, opportunities and risks to specifically prevent and tackle youth homelessness

2. Showing that ending homelessness is both achievable and sustainable by:

  • Promote the use of positive images and positive language when describing homelessness and people experiencing homelessness
  • Explore the role that existing and new technology might play in raising awareness and developing solutions to homelessness
  • Galvanise individuals, agencies and communities to collaborate in positive social action that helps end homelessness and rough sleeping
  • Provide a ‘good news agency’ function that celebrates the work our members do and raises awareness of the full range and impact of this work
  • Champion initiatives that ensure that co-production and the experiences and views of experts by experience are integral to homelessness policy and practice including our own

3. Supporting our members to be more effective, impactful and resilient by:

  • Support our members to deliver effective service responses to local needs, based on their local knowledge combined with our high-quality research and data-driven evidence
  • Provide our members with the technology, tools, support and services they need to demonstrate their impact
  • Promote good governance and leadership as vehicles for ensuring our members’ sustainability
  • Provide opportunities for people working in the homelessness and supported housing sectors to continually develop their knowledge, networks and skills
  • Facilitate partnerships and collaboration within and across sectors to achieve better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness or in vulnerable housing situations
  • Ensure that our members’ services are designed, resourced and co-ordinated to better serve people facing multiple disadvantage in all local areas

4. Being an excellent and inspiring organisation by:

  • Ensure we are a financially strong organisation able to survive and thrive over the course of this strategy and beyond
  • Develop and deliver social enterprise activities that provide surpluses to support mission delivery
  • Recruit, retain and develop a talented and skilled staff team to deliver our objectives
  • Implement and promote a partnership approach to collaborative working that seeks new partners from across sectors
  • Increase our membership and retain current members by developing new, compelling ways of describing our work and defining our value and impact as an organisation
  • Act as the trusted and independent voice for – and the knowledge and data centre about - the homelessness and supported housing sectors in England

Through these four strategic aims, we endeavour to achieve our vision that everyone has a place to call home and that we end homelessness for good in this country.

Read our new strategy in full here.

Creating the change - Homeless Link's strategy to end homelessness

Creating the change front cover

Our strategy covers a three year period from 2018-2021. It reflects the changing landscape in which we all operate, bringing together our vision and values to set out in clear terms how Homeless Link will play our part in ending homelessness.


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Rick Henderson

Rick Henderson

Chief executive

Rick is the CEO of Homeless Link and was appointed to that role in July 2012. He is a member of the government’s National Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel and the London Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Task Group. 

Twitter: @rickviews