14 November 2016
Inside Housing launches homelessness campaign
Inside Housing has launched a campaign to tackle rough sleeping to mark this week’s 50th anniversary of the landmark film Cathy Come Home.
The Cathy at 50 campaign will raise awareness and promote innovative practice to help end rough sleeping. We will also be launching a competition – Reel Homes – to produce a film about homelessness or the housing crisis and deliver a Cathy Come Home for the 21st century.
As part of the campaign, Inside Housing will be running in-depth investigations and analysis every day this week, examining the current homelessness landscape and providing ideas for the government and the housing sector about how to reduce the currently soaring levels of rough sleeping.
Cathy at 50 will call for some practical action too. It asks councils, housing providers and the government to look at adopting a Housing First approach to tackle rough sleeping.
The model, which involves providing permanent housing backed up by tailored support, appears to have been successful in tackling rough sleeping in other countries and the campaign argues it should be rolled out more widely in the UK. To kick things off, today our research looks at the impact Housing First has had in Finland and Canada.
The campaign is also calling on the Government to commit to ending rough sleeping, and halve it by 2020 as a staging post.
Cathy at 50 campaign aims:
- To launch a film competition to produce a finished work about homelessness or the impact of the housing crisis.
- A week of detailed research and stories from the frontline to mark the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home and promote a wider debate about the current homelessness crisis.
- Calls for councils to explore Housing First as a default option for long-term rough sleepers and commission Housing First schemes. Calls for housing associations to identify additional stock for Housing First schemes and for government to support five Housing First projects, collect evidence and distribute best practice.
- Calls for the government to commit to ending rough sleeping, and to halve rough sleeping by 2020 as the first step to achieving this.
Senior sector figures have already lent their support to the campaign.
Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said: “The 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home is a chance to reflect on an issue which has worsened steadily since 2010.”
Ms Alafat added that the current Homelessness Reduction Bill represents a historic opportunity to tackle the issue, but as well as the new law the Government “needs to commit to a strategy on homelessness which tackles the root causes and gives more support to local authorities”.
She added that the CIH supports Housing First “as part of a wider effort to tackle homelessness”.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of homelessness charity Thames Reach, said that it has “long advocated the mainstreaming of the Housing First model in the UK to assist long-term rough sleepers with multiple needs and we are pleased to be able to give our strong backing to the Inside Housing campaign that seeks to achieve this.”
He added: “There are many approaches to helping homeless people which sound fine but cannot demonstrate that they successfully help people to escape homelessness. In contrast, the Housing First model has been scrutinised and evaluated very carefully and has a proven track record in helping people come off the street, stay housed and get their lives back. In short: Housing First works and we need more of it.”