Homeless Link Excellence Awards 2021 – Winners Announced!
Celebrating success together online
More than 100 people tuned in to see the winners unveiled at a virtual event to celebrate the very best of innovative and impactful organisations and projects making a difference towards ending homelessness and achieving positive futures for people experiencing homelessness. The award ceremony provided a chance to reflect on the last year and celebrate the exceptional contribution of the homelessness and supported housing sectors.
In a special video for the online ceremony and her first formal duty as the new Homeless Link Chair, Anne McLoughlin emphasised the importance of these awards sharing innovation and best practice. We also heard from members of our nine strong judging panel reflecting on the challenging environment that members continue to work in and remarking on the high quality of applications from this year’s entries.
And the winners are:
From providing former rough sleepers with their own secure accommodation and supporting people leaving hospital, to amplifying the voice of people who have experienced homelessness and working with women involved in sex work, these award winners reflect the diversity and innovation of our members across the homelessness sector. The four winners will each receive a trophy and certificate, with runners up receiving a certificate.
Categories and commended applications
The ‘Home Safe’ award recognises high quality, affordable accommodation options for individuals or couples experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness that enable them to have the right to open and close their own front door and feel safe and secure in their own accommodation.
Winner – Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA)
Commended – Trinity Winchester
The judging panel awarded BCHA the ‘Home Safe’ award for its work in developing Clock House, a purpose built housing block which provides accommodation to 15 people who formerly slept rough.
The 15 individuals in question were initially housed through the Government’s Everyone In pandemic response. To make sure they didn’t return to sleeping rough, BCHA developed Clock House where each tenant has their own secure flat within the building, as well as co-creating communal spaces with the tenants. The project harnesses BCHA’s ethos of empowering people to make choices and be in control of their lives as well as building up people’s mental and physical health to help them achieve their aspirations.
The ‘People First’ award celebrates services that are inclusive and compassionate through ensuring the people they support are at the centre of what they do, working alongside people to help them leave homelessness behind.
Winner – Basis Yorkshire
Commended – Cardboard Citizens, Thanet RISE Project, St John of God Hospitaller Services
The Judging panel awarded Basis Yorkshire the ‘People First’ award ahead of 52 other entries for its work in supporting women experiencing homelessness, with a particular focus on women involved in sex work. They were particularly impressed with Basis Yorkshire’s commitment to giving the women who access their service a meaningful say in how it is run, as well as conducting joint drop-in sessions within community settings with Leeds Council to break down barriers to accessing support and its Housing First project which gives women experiencing homelessness unconditional housing and intensive support to maintain it.
Prevention into Action
The ‘Prevention into Action’ award celebrates projects that are committed to preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place. This category also recognises the power of cross-sector collaborative working as a means of preventing homelessness and improving outcomes.
Winner – P3 Charity
Commended – New Horizon Youth Centre, St Martins Housing Trust
The judging panel awarded P3 Charity the ‘Prevention into Action’ award for its Hospital Discharge Service based in Penn and New Cross Hospitals in the West Midlands. The service works with patients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, providing support to prevent people from being discharged into unsuitable accommodation or homelessness, while working to improve their health and wellbeing with the aim of reducing hospital re-admissions.
In the calendar year of 2020, working alongside the NHS, P3 Charity supported 250 people to build a life away from rough sleeping, with none of the people supported being re-admitted to hospital within 28 days.
A Stronger Voice
The ‘Stronger Voice’ award honours a person, group or service that is highlighting the true nature and scale of homelessness, while challenging the systems that aren’t working for those experiencing it.
Winner – Oxford Lived Experience Advisory Forum (LEAF)
Commended – Greater Manchester Housing First
The judging panel awarded LEAF the ‘Stronger Voice’ award for its work in amplifying the experiences and opinions of people with a lived experience of homelessness in Oxford.
Set up in 2019 with no initial funding, LEAF is led by people who have lived experience of homelessness with the aim of making sure their experiences influence the way homelessness services are run in the area. The judging panel were particularly impressed by LEAF’s commitment to empowering people experiencing homelessness and using these experiences to challenge local systems.