The Housing Justice Church and Community Night Shelter network in London has begun this winter season better prepared and resourced to help people transition from rough sleeping to stable accommodation than ever before.
In the first year of the GLA-funded Equipping Shelters Programme, Housing Justice has established the Catalyst Team, which dedicated to strengthening the capacity of church and community night shelters in London.
Catalyst Workers at Housing Justice are now facilitating the kind of networking, brokering, partnering, aligning, joining up, and identifying duplication and gaps that optimises the effectiveness and impact of us all working together in achieving the outcomes we all want to see.
Leader of Housing Justice’s London Catalyst team, Mark Brennan, has been involved with CCNS work since 2006, seeing the network grow from 40 or so projects to 145 projects across England and Wales today. Of these, 51 are in London.
‘Solving homelessness isn’t just about getting roofs over people’s heads,’ Mark says. ‘There is a clear correlation between the how rough sleepers’ family, social and professional support networks engage with services in the sector and how successful, meaningful and sustainable is their pathway off the streets.
‘Rough sleeping can be eliminated. Our hope is that we will build communities that recognise when a community member’s support networks are breaking down and intervene appropriately to prevent homelessness. When this fails, any experience of homelessness is merely episodic, because the community will step to carry each person through their episode and help them renegotiate and rebuild their support networks for themselves.