Housing First Conference 2020 - Programme

View the programme of the Housing First Conference 2020.

Book your place      Event overview       

Day 1 - Thursday 3rd December 

10.00     Opening Plenary: Ministerial Address and the picture of Housing First in England (ends 11.10) 

Following an address from the Minister, we will hear an overview of where we are with service delivery in England currently, the impact this has, and how it sits within the wider aims of fighting homelessness.


  • Chair: Rick Henderson, CEO, Homeless Link
  • Kelly Tolhurst MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Jo Prestidge, Head of National Practice Development, Homeless Link
  • Sarah Johnsen, Professorial Fellow in I-SPHERE, Heriot-Watt University

11.25    Choice of three sessions      

Housing First 101: An introduction to the principles and practicalities of Housing First delivery  (ends 12.25)
Sarah Edwards, Housing First Coach , Crisis

Partnerships: The key to Housing First (ends 12.25)
Shamara Campbell-Richards, Housing First Partnership and Strategy Manager, Single Homeless Project (SHP)

Trauma Informed Care and Housing First delivery (ends 12.25)
Rachel Dunfield, Councillor (Trauma Informed), South Yorkshire Housing Association

12.25      Lunch break

13.15      Choice of two sessions

Lessons learnt from the Housing First pilot areas (ends 14.15)
Emily Cole, Programme Lead, Greater Manchester Housing First
​Amanda Bloxsome, Housing First Best Practice and Partnerships Lead, Liverpool City Region
Victoria Kell, Strategic Policy Lead for Homelessness, Liverpool City Region
Kalvinder Kohli, Head of Service – Commissioning - Adult Social Care and Health,
Birmingham City Council 

Housing First for women (ends 14.15)
Ursula Ralph, Housing First Service Manager, Jigsaw Support
Louisa Steele, Housing First and Homelessness Coordinator, Standing Together

14.15      Refreshment break

14.30     Choice of three sessions 

A chance for discussion: Reflective working and staff resilience (ends 15.30)
Dr Amanda Skeate, Consultant Clinical Psychologist - Lead for PIE, St Basils

Housing First Policy: Its part in the solution to homelessness  (ends 15.30)
Jennie Corbett, Policy Manager, Homeless Link
Matt Downie MBE, Director of Policy and External Affairs, Crisis

The benefits of involving those with lived experience in Housing First delivery (ends 15.30)
Jo Cutts,  Project Assistant - Housing First, Stoke-on-Trent Expert Citizens 
Peter Naylor, Homelessness Lived Experience Lead, Liverpool City Region

15.45    Plenary session: In discussion with Dr Sam Tsemberis - A fireside chat with the creator of the Housing First model

  • Dr Sam Tsemberis, Founder, Pathways to Housing First

  • Alex Smith, Project Manager for Housing First, Homeless Link

16.30    Close of conference day 1

Day 2 - Friday 4th December

10.00     Plenary session: Housing First, not housing alone (ends 11.10) 

This session will consider the importance of an intergrated approach with health, mental health and addiction services, providing current good practice examples.

  • Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health 

  • Gill Leng, Health and Homelessness Advisor, Public Health England

  • A representative from Hightown Housing (TBC)

11.25    Choice of four sessions      

Housing First for young people (ends 12.30)
Alistair Macdermid, Assistant Director, Rock Trust
Mohammed Ardahan, Housing Solutions Lead, Hull City Council

A chance for discussion: Providing Housing First support during Covid (ends 12.30)
Alex Smith, Project Manager for Housing First, Homeless Link

A chance for discussion: Commissioning Housing First  (ends 12.30)
Claire Fisher, Chief Officer, Encompass

A chance for discussion: Working with the justice system  (ends 12.30)
Amanda Sheriff, Clinks South West representative, MEAM

12.30      Lunch break

13.30     Choice of three sessions

What comes after housing? Community integration and recovery (ends 14.35)
Jane Clubb, Team Leader, Two Saints

Recruiting and managing a Housing First team (ends 14.35)
Rachel Inman, Housing First Navigator, Elim Connect

A chance for discussion: Being a housing first landlord  (ends 14.35)

14.35      Refreshment break

14.50     Closing Plenary: What next? Scaling up Housing First in England

In our closing plenary of the conference, we will hear from politicians, commissioners and providers considering what is needed for effective and increased Housing First reach moving forward.


  • Bob Blackman MP, Co Chair of APPG on Ending Homelessness, Conservative Party

  • Catherine Ryder, Director of Policy and Research, National Housing Federation

  • Brian Matthews, Housing Commissioning and Partnership Manager,  London Borough of Camden

  • Victoria Stirling, Head of Service, South Yorkshire Housing Association

16.00    Close of day 2


Talk To Us

Alex McKenzie

Conference and events manager

Alex manages Homeless Link's conference and events programme.

Telephone: 020 7840 4493
Email: alex.mcKenzie@homelesslink.org.uk