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Community

Through the Network we want to develop ways for you to feel part of a frontline worker community – acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of roles and geographic spread that we cover. Whether it is meeting other frontline workers at an event or swapping tips and advice through the Forum, get involved today!

Find out about upcoming events for frontline workers in your area. The latest events...

As well as working at a national level to offer funding, community and resources to frontline sta...

At the Frontline Network, it's not about us, it's about you as a frontline worker. We work with y...

The C-19 Frontline Worker Support Forum is a space dedicated to sharing frontline worker informat...

Covid-19 updates

Enews updates

Please find enclosed the latest COVID-19 updates from South Yorkshire Frontline Network:

SYFN Covid-19 Update - 9th April 2020

Local blogs

Top tops for organising a successful local event

Engaging with decision makers in South Yorkshire

Shadowing Fund and Wellbeing: Visit To Cyrenians

Wellbeing On The Frontline - South Yorkshire Frontline Network

Local events

Local testimonials

We receive some fantastic local testimonials at many of our South Yorkshire Frontline Network events. Here are a few examples from our latest frontline network event in September:

  • “I haven't been to a good networking event like this is many years. They just don’t happen anymore. I feel so energised and motivated after today and will definitely be coming back to future events as it is so important for us to talk to each other and learn from each other” (Frontline Worker, September 2019)

  • “I just cant get enough of these events. They are brilliant I love them”. (Frontline Worker, September 2019) 

Upcoming events

Covid-19 updates

Information for homelessness services

The Coventry Frontline Network has created a real time document to provide local and national updates for the homelessness sector. Please see here

The document helps to support knowledge sharing amongst frontline staff and agencies on how services are being impacted by Covid-19 and how this is affecting support provision to people experiencing homelessness. 

If you are not already registered with the Coventry Frontline Network, and or would like to receive their updates, please contact Zoë Titchener at ztitchener@coventrycab.org.uk

Recent updates include:

  • Coventry City Council updates on HRA homelessness services and Community support for Coventry during C-19. This includes an update on “Operation Shield” – ensuring those most at risk from COVID are supported to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks, with a regular supply of essential food and medication.
  • Community support includes a searchable map for mutual aid groups and food deliveries. Please see here. 
  •  All Coventry updates relating to food have been placed together in the real time doc- please  search by “Coventry food provision”.
  • Coventry Women’s Partnership, Age UK, and the Coventry City Council benefits update.
  • This also includes a helpful overview of changes to Section 21 and related eviction processes and additional information in the DWP section on verifying ID for new UC claims. (If this can’t be done online, claimants will be asked biographical questions to prove ID. They will not be asked to visit the Jobcentre in person.)

 

Meetings

Coventry Frontline Network Forum - 5th June 2019

Coventry Frontline Network Forum - 11 March 2020

Coventry Frontline Network Forum - 23rd September 2020

Coventry Frontline Network Forum - 27th November 2020

Amplifying your voice

Coventry Frontline Network - Section 21 Call For Evidence

The Coventry Frontline Network recently sought the views of frontline workers in Coventry and the wider midlands area, in relation to the Government's plan to remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. 

Their response considered the proposals suggested within the Government's 'A new deal for renting: 'Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants', from the perspective of frontline homelessness workers.

You can read the submission here.

Coventry Frontline Network response to: HRA call for evidence July 2019

The Coventry Frontline Network held sessions for frontline housing and homelessness workers to discuss the national Call for Evidence about the first year of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

You can read the Coventry Frontline Network response here.

Local Blogs

Influencing Local Decisions

More

Zoë Titchener has run the Coventry Frontline Network since its launch in September 2017.

In our first two years, we have seen the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act, the roll-out of Universal Credit in Coventry, and the creation of Coventry City Council’s new Housing & Homelessness strategy. We host a dedicated forum for frontline workers to meet and discuss these important topics, providing a space to hear their voices and allowing those voices to be heard by decision makers. The network is looking for better ways of working together, to improve outcomes for Coventry people who are vulnerably housed or experiencing homelessness.

Following the extension of the project until 2022, the Coventry network is looking forward to expanding its remit into the wider Midlands area, to ensure people working on the frontline can access the information and support that the national network has to offer. We are aiming to create a “network of networks” in the West Midlands Combined Authority and beyond.

For more information about the Coventry network, contact Zoë at: ztitchener@coventrycab.org.uk or on 02476 252 616.

Follow us on twitter: @CoventryCA #CovFLN

Upcoming events

Covid-19 updates

Community, Creativity, And A Pandemic

Read Sarah Hughes' latest blog on the importance of community and creativity during the COVID-19 outbreak: Community, Creativity, And A Pandemic.

Blogs

Your Sessions Are Stagnating – It’s Time ‘Not’ To Panic!

Influence From The Frontline

Personal Transitions Service (PTS): An Asset Based Model

Changing Lives Shadowing Mayday In Oxford

The Unspoken Truth About Frontline

Upcoming events

System Reflect - Frontline Network - Tuesday 4th February 2020

Resources

Wisdom From The Street

In 2011, we conducted a qualitative review of over 100 people inside and outside Mayday Trust. We wanted to know what people thought of the services designed to support their move out of homelessness and toward independence.

Their feedback, and our own reflections, uncovered the systematic institutionalisation of people accessing homelessness services. The ‘traditional’ focus on needs kept people in their area of weakness, leaving them unable to create sustained, positive change for themselves.

The results were so powerful that they demanded a need for radical change. Change not only in how we delivered support, but in how our entire organisation thought, acted and responded to make sure the individual was at the heart of every decision we made and every action we took.

A whole cultural change was needed. So that’s what we did. We took a blank piece of paper and created the first strength based personal transitions service for people experiencing homelessness: The Personal Transitions Service.

Wisdom From The Street illustrates the key issues highlighted to us during this review. What we learned informed a completely new way of working so that homelessness and tough times can become what they should be; a temporary transition.

The Personal Transitions Service

The Personal Transitions Service is a person-led, transitional and strength-based approach to tackling homelessness and other tough times, such as leaving care, coming off drugs or alcohol, coming out of prison or psychiatric hospital. Find out more by watching our short video created by the Mayday PTS Team.

How we got here – Wisdom from the Street

In 2011, Mayday decided to do something new. We listened to people’s experiences and feelings about homelessness services. The two things that summerised what people said were:

1. The process, once you became homeless, was humiliating, dehumanising and at worst institutionalising. People were becoming trapped in homelessness services.

2. Too many people stayed too long. The outcomes for people weren’t good enough

Find out more about Wisdom from the Street

The results were so powerful that it led us to search the globe for a totally new approach.

From here we set about to create a new approach, one that would work for people going through tough times. Years of co-production and total organisational transformation followed, looking at what worked and what didn’t.

What doesn’t work

By focusing on areas of weakness or perceived deficits, people could only develop so far, yet focusing on strengths allows them to exploit their potential.

Fixing people doesn’t work as it focuses on the problem and not person, yet listening to a persons’ story demands a totally different response.

Segregating people from their communities and into services impacts on their identity and sense of purpose.

The current system focuses on the areas above, creating additional barriers for people going through tough times. These additional hurdles can often leave people feeling helpless, isolated and trapped – ultimately unable to leave services.

Moving forward

The Personal Transitions Service offers people going through tough times the opportunity to work with a PTS Coach in order to overcome these systemic barriers, to focus on strengths and take back control over their lives and the future they want.

Wisdom from behind closed doors

Wisdom from Behind Closed Doors is based on 80+ conversations with people who are housed in temporary or supported accommodation, as well as people who are sleeping rough and sofa surfing.

Read 'Wisdom from behind closed doors' here.

What's Wrong With The System

As part of a consultation on rough sleeping with the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) CEO of Mayday Trust, Pat McArdle has derived a report looking at what’s wrong with the system and what makes the Personal Transitions Service different?

Read 'What's Wrong With The System' here.

Events

System Reset - September 12, 2018

Events

'Ending Homelessness Together Plan' - Consultation Workshop - 3rd September 2019


This September, a consultation workshop took place in Glasgow to hear the views of those with lived and frontline experience, on the Scottish Government's 'Ending Homelessness Together Plan’.

Please read the consultation workshop's report here.

The Scottish Government has agreed to fund the new End Homelessness Change team. The core purpose is to put the voice of Lived Experience and Frontline staff at the heart of designing services which make up the Plan to End Homelessness.

It was great to see that sixty people attended this workshop to discuss: what the ‘New Direction’ of the 'Ending Homelessness Together Plan’ looks like; and how a ‘Change Team’ is created to deliver this programme.

Ending Homelessness Together: ‘New Direction’

The ‘New Direction’ of the 'Ending Homelessness Together Plan’ was described at the workshop as follows:

  • A new duty to prevent homelessness — and clearer paths for those most at risk
  • Joined up working – less silos in services that don’t put people first
  • Preventing people having to repeat their story
  • Universal legal rights in relation to local connection and intentionality
  • New standards and time limits in temporary accommodation.

Ending Homelessness Together: Change Team

The workshop also came together to describe how a ‘Change Team’ would be comprised to deliver the 'Ending Homelessness Together Plan':

  • Balanced in terms of frontline and lived experience.
  • Diverse in geography, knowledge, skills and specialisms
  • Connected to evidence of what works.

Ending Homelessness Together: Change Lead

Within this team, the workshop also looked at how a Change Team would be driven by a ‘Change Lead’.

It was proposed that a 'Change Lead' should have the following attributes:

  • Passionate and motivated to create change
  • Working from a strong value base
  • Good knowledge of the of the plan to end homelessness in Scotland
  • The ability to translate complex messages in a simple, straightforward way; excellent listening skills
  • The ability to facilitate [potentially] challenging conversations in a positive way
  • Strong local networks to engage with and feed back to.

The Common Ground Steering Group - 27th November 2018

Finding a Common Ground - 27th November 2018

The 'Common Ground' Steering Group has been meeting for the last 3 months to deliver a Peer Lead Homelessness Advocacy Network, and as a result of this they have produced a strategic plan for the next year.

 

This strategic plan outlines the services they aim to deliver, and the specific requirements for those services, and the whole group, to function.

 

With £10,000 of initial funding secured from St Martins in the Field the group has almost everything in place that it needs to go forward, and support others to create change in their own lives.

Preparing and Caring for Staff Working in Health and Homelessness - 2017

Preparing and Caring for Staff Working in Health and Homelessness - 2017

Cyrenians hosted our event in partnership with St Martins in the Field and Faculty of Health and Homelessness looking at Preparing and Caring for Staff
Working in Health and Homelessness.

The event aimed to unpack the long term impact of health, wellbeing and resilience of frontline staff.

In particular, seeking to explore the role academia, employers and peers can have in preparing and caring for people in ‘tough’ jobs and compassion fatigue.

Resources

Calls from the Frontline to end homelessness in Scotland

Calls from the Frontline to end homelessness in Scotland

Frontline workers have a unique insight into what works and what doesn’t to tackle homelessness. So, it is important we hear those voices to share good practice and build positive solutions through their expertise. 


The Scottish Government’s Homelessness Rough Sleeping Action Group (HRSAG) recognised that too. Through their collaboration with people with lived experience, they kept hearing that the impact frontline workers have on people’s day, optimism and confidence is huge.

This report presents the knowledge and ideas gathered from 75 frontline workers from across Scotland, while attending two networking events in Glasgow and Edinburgh during April 2018.

Read the report here.

'Ending Homelessness Together Plan'

Ending Homelessness Together Report

The “Ending Homelessness Together: High Level Action Plan” (2018) includes a plan to develop a wide-reaching prevention duty as a legal backstop for those experiencing homelessness.

The High-Level Action Plan also aims to revise legislative arrangements on local connection and intentionality. It is premised that these changes will remove arbitrary barriers, making it easier to act early in preventing homelessness.

Within the latest Frontline Worker 2018 Report, it was identified that Frontline workers in Scotland found it slightly easier than other areas of the UK to prevent homelessness at 64% compared with Wales (73%) and Northern Ireland (89%) where it was seen as harder to prevent homelessness.

Local Blogs

Shadowing Fund And Wellbeing: Visit To Cyrenians

Highlights From A Visit To Cyrenians

Housing First Scotland

Upcoming events

Covid-19 updates

Plymouth Covid-19 Information

Please see below some local level updates for Plymouth services and how they are adjusting during the Coronavirus outbreak. Please note, information is subject to change and we will update as we receive additional updates.

If you are not currently part of the Plymouth Frontline Network and would like to receive their updates on activities, please email Jane Cookson - Jane.Cookson@pathdevon.org

Accommodation is being provided for everyone, including an additional 39 beds for people sleeping rough in private rented accommodation across Plymouth. Please see press release from Plymouth City Council for further details. Please see here for advice if you see people sleeping rough. For the latest updates from Plymouth City Council, please see here. PCC can be contacted on 01752 668000.

Adult Social Care Team update- the ASC have been instructed to un-allocate themselves from all clients and focus solely on urgent problems arising due to Coronavirus. Any urgent concerns will need to be raised with the Adult Social Care via the main 668000 telephone number.

Universal Credit

From 6 April the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit customers and to existing Working Tax Credit customers. This means that for a single Universal Credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

Understanding Universal Credit and Coronavirus

Helping someone claim

Energy industry and how they plan to support our vulnerable customers during Covid-19

Local Housing Allowance Rates

From April, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This means that LHA will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area. This will apply to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element customers, and to existing Housing Benefit customers.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK workers of any employer who is placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can keep their job, with the government paying up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per worker each month. This will be backdated to 1 March and will be initially open for 3 months, to be extended if necessary.

This scheme is being delivered by HMRC, and will be available in the coming weeks; more information on Gov.uk.

Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while the national emergency is taking place.
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis.
  • Landlords will also be protected as 3-month mortgage holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages.

Information on preventing and spotting loan shark use during Covid-19

Please see Livewell Southwest for updates relating to Community Mental Health support in Plymouth.

Harbour can be still be contacted for drug and alcohol support via their main number as usual. Callers will be advised on how referrals and assessments are being managed. This includes access to mental health support & prescribing. Please see here.

Plymouth Foodbank at 28 Manor Street is still open for food recipients on Monday and Wednesdays from 1.30 - 3.30 and on Friday from 10 -12.

  • If you have clients in need please continue to refer them to us as normal.  If you are not operating on a face-to-face basis at the moment, please telephone 01752 254981 to register a voucher, informing them of your voucher number and details that you hold about the client you are referring. You can telephone from 9.00am- 12pm, Monday - Thursday. 

If this is not possible you can scan in the voucher/ or email the required details if you can't access vouchers and send to this email.

Please note that we don't have a delivery service and if you can help your clients if they are self-isolating with this that would be good.

 

Please also refer to Plymouth Online Directory for other updates on local services and access to support and resources during this time. This includes a Covid-19 professional portal.

 

For see here for information on the Plymouth Trauma Informed Network, and resources that can support you currently.

Harbour Support During C-19

Please read below the latest update from Harbour, in relation to their support during C-19.

Harbour C-19 Support Update

Local Blogs

How To Access Housing & Related Services

Resources

What are the difficulties/blockages to accessing accommodation for the people that you were with?

Meetings

Access To Accommodation - February 14, 2019

Upcoming events

Covid-19 updates

E-news updates

Please find enclosed the latest COVID-19 updates from Brighton and Hove Frontline Network:

March 24th 2020

March 31st 2020

April 7th 2020 

April 14th 2020

April 21st 2020

April 28th 2020

May 5th 2020

May 12th 2020

May 19th 2020

Past Events

Homelessness & Health Conference - 20th November 20, 2019

Rough Sleeping Strategy - Come And Have Your Say - 5th November 2019

Brain Injury Training For Homelessness Workers (Brighton) - 29th October, 2019

Could Universal Credit Help Improve The Lives Of Homeless People In Brighton And Hove? - 19th September, 2018

Community Of Practice: Behind The Front Line In Brighton & Hove - 5th September, 2019

Reducing Rough Sleeping Event - 1st May, 2019

Resources

Universal Credit

In September 2018, we hosted an event in collaboration with our local DWP team to work together with frontline workers to identify both current challenges and potential solutions regarding Universal credit.

This summary highlights some helpful pointers from the DWP arising from the key issues raised by frontline workers. To request a more detailed report of the event please email: frontline@justlife.org.uk

Local Blogs

Highlights From A Visit To Cyrenians

'A Fresh Start’ From Justlife

Changing The System For People Experiencing Hidden Homelessness

Upcoming events

Local Blogs

Five Things To Consider When Working With Homeless Migrants

Access To Healthcare For Migrants

Brexit And EU Settlement – A Briefing For Homelessness Services

Rights & Entitlements For Those With Status Under The EU Settlement Scheme

Past Meetings

National Day Centres Learning Event

EEA Service Users & Brexit - What Now? - London

Trafficking, Modern Slavery And Homelessness: Challenges And Responses

EU Settlement For Non-Immigration Advisers

The End Of The Line - What Can Be Done When There's Nothing Left To Do

Resources

Upcoming events

Covid-19 updates

DWP Update and Digital Resources

The Department for Work and Pensions have shared some helpful digital resources for frontline workers:

  1. Touchbase Updates: Touchbase is a product which provides a round up of recent DWP announcements.
  1. New DWP Employment and Benefits support page: Please visit this new Employment and Benefits site to keep up to date with the latest guidance on sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims to benefit, self-employment, housing and more.

  2. People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process: The Department for Work and Pensions have recently announced that people making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process.

Local Blogs

Bridging The Gap

How does the Frontline Network support statutory frontline workers?

Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Frontline Network is leading the way in creating positive multi-agency working relationships.

Read more here

Blackpool Fulfilling Lives #SeetheFullPicture

Last year, over 66% of frontline workers said the people they support experience problems accessing mental health services.

The Blackpool Fulfilling Lives' #Seethefullpicture campaign highlights the real challenges facing people experiencing homelessness & addiction.

Read more here.

Past Meetings

Blackpool, Wyre And Fylde Frontline Network Universal Credit Focus Group

Blackpool, Wyre And Fylde's Annual Networking Conference 2018

Blackpool, Fylde And Wyre Frontline Network Event: Making Links

Upcoming events

Annual Conference Resources

Local Context of Housing and Homelessness

Please find enclosed a presentation by Hannah Cassidy, Housing Options Team Leader at Blackpool Council, on Local Context of Housing and Homelessness.

For further information on Housing Options at Blackpool Council, click here.

Substance Misuse and Sexual Health Services

Melanie Kelly and Freddie Jaques from Rennaissance/Horizon presented at our annual conference on "A New Dawn for Substance Misuse and Sexual Health Services".

Recovery and Resilience

Read Suzy Smith from Lancashire Recovery College's presentation on Recovery and Resilience.

Hoarding

Mark Bairstow and Norbert Mate at Adult Social Care gave a presentation on the best practices in relation to Hoarding.

45 Degree Change

Please find enclosed Neal Lawson of Compass' presentation on 45 Degree Change.

Thinking Differently...A Working Model for Frontline Professionals

Thinking Differently...A Working Model for Frontline ProfessionalsJacqui's Website is currently under reconstruction, however you can email her directly at: Jacqui@jacquilane.com.

Understanding and Responding to Complex Trauma

Check out David Gill of Risk and Resilience's presentation on Understanding and Responding to Complex Trauma.

Network Meetings

Training

Frontline Network Open Consultations

Post-Lockdown Support Needs

    
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has presented significant and fast-evolving challenges for the homelessness sector.

We welcome the incredible collaborative efforts taken by frontline workers to accommodate people.
We also know that further action must be taken to ensure that individuals can access much needed support and long-term housing, once lockdown measures are eased.

In this context, we would like to know what systemic and practical barriers frontline workers are currently facing, to access accommodation for the people they support. We also want to know how frontline workers can best support individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, once lockdown measures are eased.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey – the results will be anonymous. If you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact our Policy and Communications Officer, Marcus Loney-Evans: Marcus.loney-evans@stmartinscharity.org.uk.

At the Frontline Network, we responded to this crisis by creating an Emergency Fund to support the urgent & evolving needs of people experiencing homelessness. During this crisis, over £600k of grants have been successfully awarded, to support frontline workers get people safely into accommodation.
  
The Frontline Network supports frontline workers who work with people experiencing homelessness. We offer access to funding, resources, and a strong frontline worker community. If you haven’t already, find out more about the Frontline Network here.

Closed Frontline Network Consultations

Frontline Network Survey 2019

We would like to say a huge thank you to the 1433 frontline workers who completed this year's Frontline Worker Survey!

At the Frontline Network, it’s not about us. It’s about you as a frontline worker.

We fully appreciate how busy you are, and this is why it is so important to gather your ideas and expertise within our Frontline Worker Survey.

We wanted to know what challenges you face and the great work that you do to overcome some of these challenges.

From hostels to hospitals, night shelters to job centres, food banks to housing first services: your expert feedback has given us an insight into the working life of frontline workers across a range of settings.

We collected 3359 comments within our survey's open questions.  We hope this year's survey will highlight good practice and what works, but also be honest about the challenges faced. 

Thank you again for taking this year's survey. We look forward to presenting our findings from all 50 questions in our Frontline Worker Report - set to be released in Spring 2020.

Frontline Worker Survey: Government Consultation To Remove Section 21 Of The Housing Act 1988

The Frontline Network recently submitted written evidence to the Government's consultation seeking views on their decision to repeal Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 – the no-fault eviction notice, and improve Section 8 grounds.

We ran a seven-question survey, asking frontline workers for their views on this very importance tenancy reform. Our questionnaire findings confirmed that frontline workers strongly believe landlords should no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice, and without good reason.

Key Findings

Between 15th August 2019 – 10th September 2019, the Frontline Network conducted an online survey on repealing Section 21. Overall, the results suggest frontline workers believe the repeal of Section 21 is a positive step in providing increased stability for tenants:

  • 73% of frontline workers believed that Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) should be repealed, in contrast to 12% who didn’t (15% were unsure).

  • Most significantly, 84% of frontline workers stated they have supported individuals who have been made homeless as a result of receiving a Section 21 eviction notice.

  • A further 75% of frontline workers believe that Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) has either a negative or very negative impacted upon their ability to prevent homelessness.

  • Most frontline workers, 71%, believed that repealing Section 21 (Housing Act 1988) would have a positive or very positive impact on their ability to prevent homelessness in the future.

Overall, frontline workers have strongly welcomed repealing legislation (Section 21), which allows eviction notices to be served at short notice, and without good reason. However, in the absence of a Section 21 notice, improved tenancy rights must be implemented by the Government.

This will mean, in the event of an eviction notice being served, that legal recourse is available to tenants and the appropriate preventative duties are exercised by the local authority.

Nevertheless, many frontline workers have suggested that removing Section 21 could have the unintended consequence of making it harder to access accommodation, with more restrictive pre-tenancy checks.

In order to improve access to accommodation for individuals experiencing homelessness, frontline workers ask for a renewed focus, and greater funding, to tackle the root causes of access to accommodation.

Thank you to everyone that participated in our online survey.

At the Frontline Network, we support workers from the public, statutory and voluntary sectors working on the frontline with those experiencing homelessness.

Please join the Frontline Network for free today, if you are not already a member.

Frontline Worker Survey 2018

Please read the key findings and impact of our Frontline Worker Survey 2018 here, and what we’ve done so far. 

Key Findings:

  • In the Frontline Worker 2018 survey, 82% of frontline workers found it overwhelmingly difficult to prevent homelessness.
     
  • 80% of all frontline workers found it difficult or very difficult to access accommodation within the Local Housing Allowance rate.
     
  • The survey also found that access to ‘mental health support and benefits support’ has got harder for frontline workers across every region in the UK.
     
  • While 98% of frontline workers felt ‘having enough time to do my job effectively’ was extremely or very important; only 42% of frontline workers felt they had enough time to do their job effectively.
     

Impact of the Frontline Worker Survey 2018

  • “My Policy Officials will make sure to feed the findings of this survey into our policy development, particularly on workforce capability” (Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, October 2019)
     
  • “We are grateful for your continued support and investment that ensures frontline workers are able to influence and shape national policy based on their expertise.” (Directorate for Housing and Social Justice: Scottish Government, October 2019)
     
  • The frontline worker difficulties expressed in finding accommodation within the LHA rate were highlighted within Crisis’ report: “Cover the Cost: Restoring Local Housing Allowance rates to prevent homelessness”.
     
  • We also presented the survey’s findings at the Homeless Link Policy Forum on the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act on Single Homelessness in London. You can find our guest briefing for Homeless Link’s London Plus Project Newsletter here.
     
  • Homeless Link recently developed a webinar on Universal Credit, which was informed by feedback from this survey – addressing some of the key concerns raised by frontline workers.
     
  • We used the findings in this survey to support our recent evidence submission to the Government's consultation on repealing Section 21: the no-fault eviction notice. Our findings confirmed that frontline workers strongly believe landlords should no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice, and without good reason.
     

What We've Done So Far


Training Fund

In our 2018 survey, over 80% of frontline workers felt it would be useful for the Frontline Network to provide funding for training. We are now pleased to launch our 'Training Fund'.

Any frontline worker who has registered with the Frontline Network can apply. This enables any frontline worker to apply for funding to attend either existing training, or to commission bespoke training where there is a high enough need in their area.

Vicar’s Relief Fund grant

In 2017/18 the Vicar’s Relief Fund awarded 3981 grants to help people access accommodation, and 1646 grants to help prevent eviction. We will review how the VRF can best encourage further access to accommodation and support frontline workers in dealing with the challenges arising from new legislation.

Ideas Fund

We will continue to support innovation on the frontline through the Ideas Fund. The Ideas Fund can help you access funding to turn an idea that will improve the situation for people experiencing homelessness into reality. The funding ranges from £200 to £10,000, for ideas big and small. You can use it to develop creative solutions and new ways of working.

Frontline Network Survey: C-19 And Homelessness

The Frontline Network recently submitted written evidence to the Government's inquiry seeking views on the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness.

During the COVID-19 crisis outbreak, we saw an opportunity to do more to help people who have been directly affected by COVID-19, which is why we created the “VRF - Emergency Fund”.

To identify the best ways of supporting people experiencing homelessness at this time, we set up the 'Emergency Fund Survey', to gather feedback from frontline workers on what they were seeing and what was needed.

Our eighteen-question survey confirmed that, so far, there are consistently high levels of need for accommodation where individuals can self-isolate; a high need for food and essentials; and an increasing need for the digital resources necessary to keep in contact with key workers and support networks.

Please find below a summary of our survey’s key findings from 19th March - 30th March 2020, with focus on two areas where the Committee is interested in finding out more:

Key Findings

Overall, frontline workers have stated there are consistently high levels of need for accommodation where individuals can self-isolate; a high need for food and essentials; and an increasing need for the digital resources necessary to keep in contact with key workers and support networks.

Whilst great efforts have been made to accommodate individuals, our feedback confirms that frontline workers are finding it hard to contact the people they support - especially as many do not have access to digital resources.

The concern over contact has been highlighted both in terms of supporting identifying individual’s immediate needs; (i.e. food supplies, sanitisation products and payment of utility bills), to identifying people’s longer-term support needs during self-isolation.

As face-to-face homelessness services remain closed in line with public health guidance, there should be a recognition that great support can be provided through increase access to digital resources.

Without this access, there is a significant concern that individuals will lose direct contact with their key workers and vital support networks.

 

Government Response

On 25th June 2020 the Government produced a response by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s report on protecting rough sleepers and renters.

You can read their response here.

Universal Credit - Frontline Network Submission To House Of Lords

The Frontline Network recently submitted evidence to the House of Lords Universal Credit Call for Evidence. We ran a one question survey and asked frontline workers “How has your work changed since the introduction of Universal Credit?” We had 128 responses and from these, three key themes stood out:

  • Financial Hardship and the Five Week Wait
  • Digital and Banking Access
  • Access to Accommodation

Financial Hardship and the Five Week Wait

When responding, staff often highlighted concern over the waiting times for Universal Credit and the impact this can have. One example of this is how the increased wait is leading to a greater reliance on food banks. In addition to this, staff have noticed that there is now a greater need for debt management support.

Digital and Banking Access

Staff emphasised that many of the people they work with have limited digital access. With Universal Credit claims being done digitally, difficulties arise when there is limited digital access or limited digital skills. These issues can be further impacted by individuals not having an email address or a bank account.

Access to Accommodation

Frontline staff also highlighted that issues with Universal Credit have impacted on access to accommodation. The number of private landlords willing to accept people on benefits has reduced. The length of time it takes to process claims and the difficulty in being able to secure payments have both impacted on this.

Local Solutions

In our submission, we also outlined some local initiatives that have been used to mitigate the impacts of Universal Credit. These initiatives were taken from the findings of our latest annual Frontline Worker Survey.

Examples of local initiatives included:

  • Building relationships with local Job Centre and Department for Work and Pensions, included having a named contact.
  • Working with local organisations to increase provision of digital access points.
  • Developing relationships with local banks so that they accept minimum ID to set up an account.
  • Ensuring organisations are not working in silos and working together to ensure responses are more joined up.

Overall, most frontline workers indicated a negative experience of Universal Credit and the impact it has on the people they support. It has increased the financial strain and risk of homelessness that people face.

Thank you to everyone that replied to our survey.

VRF Emergency Fund Survey

During this outbreak, we have heard from hundreds of frontline workers whose services have been affected by the outbreak.

As people go into isolation, an increased number of face-to-face services are closing due to public health concerns.
 
The impact for those experiencing homelessness who usually receive support through these services is huge.

To ensure the VRF – Emergency Fund responds to immediate and evolving needs, we developed an 'Emergency Fund Survey'.

This survey has been responded to by over 1050 frontline workers in two weeks. We would like to extend our sincere thanks for offering your time and expertise to inform how our fund is designed.

 
Key areas where Frontline Workers have asked for support

 

  • Help to access accommodation to self-isolate
     
  • Help to access food and basic essential items
     
  • Help to provide mobile phones/digital resources/internet access
     
  • Help to source personal protective equipment
     

From our survey's feedback, frontline workers initially requested urgent financial support to access food supplies and other basic essential items for the people they support.

However, many have now stated that the people they support have no access to phones, digital resources, or the internet. The concern is that many have now lost all forms of contact with their key worker.
 
We have also seen a significant rise in the number of frontline workers requesting personal protective equipment, as well as hygiene products for the people they support.

Ongoing consultations in England

There are presently no ongoing Government-led consultations in England.

Please find below a list of recently 'closed consultations' in England. You can read the latest developments, the consultations key findings, and the impact of your voice as frontline worker.

Do you have any questionnaires or open consultations which you would like us to promote on the Frontline Network? Please feel free to contact us with details at: frontline@stmartinscharity.org.uk

Closed consultations in England

Views on Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Consultation Description

The Government recently sought the views of frontline workers on the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

The introduction of the HRA (Homelessness Reduction Act 2017) marks a renewed focus on preventative work and introduces new methods to achieve this. There are two new duties: to prevent and relieve homelessness, which requires local authorities to provide advice and a personal housing plan to individuals experiencing or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.  

The Government's call for evidence sought to gather evidence on:

  • The impact the Act has had and the outcomes that are being achieved.
  • How has the Act changed the approach of local housing authorities and their partners to tackling homelessness and supporting those in need.
  • The experience of people approaching their local housing authority for help.
  • How the implementation of the Act has been resourced, including the level of new burdens funding to assist this.
  • What elements of the Act and processes are working well, and which might need adjustment.

This consultation ran from 9:30am on 23 July 2019 to 11:45pm on 15 October 2019. 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government are currently analysing the feedback received.

Visit this page to download the outcome to this public feedback.

Rogue Landlord Database Reform Consultation

Consultation description

The Government recently sought the views of frontline workers on the database of rogue landlords and property agents.

This database was introduced in April 2018. The database is targeted at only the most serious and prolific criminals, who are convicted of the limited range of banning order offences. The database is currently an enforcement tool available to local authorities, except in certain circumstances where anonymised, aggregated data can be requested by the public.

The Government recently sought the views of frontline workers on widening access and considering the scope of the database of rogue landlords and property agents.

This consultation ran from 12:15am on 21 July 2019 to 11:45pm on 12 October 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government are currently analysing the feedback received.

Visit this page to download the outcome to this public feedback.

Policy Context - England

Policy Context

  • The introduction of the HRA (Homeless Reduction Act 2017) marks a renewed focus on preventative work and introduces new methods to achieve this. There are two key statutory duties implemented under this act, both of which support the original statutory rehousing duty – a duty to prevent homelessness and a duty to relieve homelessness. 

  • These duties require local authorities to provide individuals experiencing or threatened with homelessness within 56 days with advice and a personal housing plan.  

  • A new Rough Sleeping Strategy, RSS, (August 2018) was introduced – attempting a multi-disciplinary assistance approach to tackling homelessness. The strategy also maintains that early prevention is a key focus, and £17 million has been made available for “Somewhere Safe to Stay”. This initiative aims to quickly assess the needs of people who are sleeping rough or at risk of rough sleeping.  

  • The Government have also invested up to £28 million in three major ‘Housing First’ pilots in England. 'Housing First' is a recovery-oriented approach which aims to provide independent and permanent housing first, with a view to providing wrap-around support as needed after accommodation has been secured.  
  • The RSS (2018) also acknowledged the need for additional training and support for frontline workers who are supporting non-UK nationals who are sleeping rough and have complex immigration cases or restricted eligibility for welfare and services. 

Ongoing consultations in Scotland

Housing to 2040: consultation on outline policy options

Overview

This consultation asks for your views on the Scottish Government’s draft vision and principles for our homes and communities in 2040, and your suggestions for innovative, bold and imaginative proposals in order to deliver the housing to 2040 vision. Your views will help to inform the Scottish Government’s final vision and route map to 2040.

Why the Scottish Government Are Consulting

The Scottish Government’s ambition is that everyone in Scotland should live in high quality, energy efficient homes that are affordable and that meet their needs. In last year’s Programme for Government, we committed to work with stakeholders on a vision for how our homes and communities should look and feel by 2040 and the options and choices to get there.

Please note this consultation closes on 28 February 2020

Read the consultation paper.

Closed consultations in Scotland

Care Experience and Homelessness

Consultation Description

The Scottish Government ran a survey in relation to Care Experienced children, young people and adults in Scotland, so as to improve the outcomes of this group.

The Scottish Government's aims from this survey for are:

a) to prevent young people leaving Care and becoming homeless
b) to best support those who do become homeless

Read more about the latest developments of this survey here.

Consultation on the Enhanced Heating Regimes within the new definition of Fuel Poverty

Overview

The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill was passed by Parliament on 11 June 2019 and is currently awaiting Royal Assent.

The underlying data on households used in the calculation of fuel poverty rates is drawn from the annual Scottish House Conditions Survey (SHCS). The Enhanced Heating Regimes are a set of assumptions, laid out in the Bill and used in the calculation of fuel poverty rates, about the room temperatures and hours of heating which are appropriate for vulnerable households. This consultation is being undertaken to inform the secondary legislation, to be introduced later this year, which will specify the types of household to which the Enhanced Heating Regimes will apply.

Why the Scottish Government Are Consulting

The Fuel Poverty Bill sets out the various factors that are considered in the definition of both fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty , including the requisite temperature and time the home should be heated to. The Scottish Government call this the ‘heating regime’. The type of heating regime used dictates the estimated costs that would be needed to provide the household with a sufficiently warm home.

This consultation sets out the three Enhanced Heating Regimes and seeks views on which households they should be applied to. Following the closing date on 16th August 2019, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help the Scottish Government. 

Read the consultation paper.

Policy Context - Scotland

Policy Context

  • The ‘Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003’ introduced a significant amendment which abolished the priority need criteria with which homeless applications were progressed. This law took effect in 31 December 2012. In Scotland there is a now a requirement for local authorities to source permanent accommodation for all applicants who are unintentionally homeless or threatened with homelessness, irrespective of priority need.
  • Recently, there has been a formal Scottish Government commitment to compliment this approach with an earlier prevention model as detailed in “Ending Homelessness Together: High Level Action Plan” (2018). 

  • The Scottish Government has pledged a £50 million fund to support homelessness prevention over the next five years. This plan includes a legal prevention duty to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, and the aim to remove restrictions of intentionality and local connection for homelessness applications. It is premised that these legal changes will remove arbitrary barriers to make it easier to act early in preventing the problem.
     
  • The Scottish plan takes up the recommendations set out by the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) placing significant recognition of frontline workers: ‘We must ensure that the frontline workers working directly with people experiencing homelessness, who often have the deepest insight into people’s needs, are well-resourced and supported through training and access to the right resources.”  

  • The Scottish equivalent of Section 21 was a Section 33 no fault eviction. This was abolished on December 1st 2017, after which tenancies, by law, are now open-ended in Scotland. 

  • In Scotland, the Housing First Scotland Fund is the largest programme of its kind in the United Kingdom. 

Ongoing consultations in Wales

There are presently no ongoing Government-led consultations in Wales.

Please find below a list of recently 'closed consultations' in Wales. You can read the latest developments, the consultations key findings, and the impact of your voice as frontline worker.

Do you have any questionnaires or open consultations which you would like us to promote on the Frontline Network? Please feel free to contact us with details at: frontline@stmartinscharity.org.uk

Closed consultations in Wales

Increasing the minimum notice period for a no fault eviction

Consultation Description

The Welsh Government ran a consultation in relation to increasing the notice that a landlord must give when seeking to end a contract under s173 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. This consultation seeks views on the potential benefits and risks of extending the minimum notice period for a notice given under section 173 from two months to six months, and also on restricting the issue of such a notice until six months after the ‘occupation date’ of the contract. The Act currently sets this at four months.

Overall, this consultation will seeks views on the following proposals:

  • extending the minimum notice period from 2 months to 6 months 
  • increasing the period at the beginning of a contract during which a landlord cannot give notice from 4 months to 6 months
  • placing a 6 month restriction on issuing a notice following the expiry of a previous notice
  • removing a landlord’s ability to end a fixed term standard contract (under section 186)
  • the use of break clauses in fixed term contracts.

This consultation is now closed. The responses to this consultation are currently being reviewed by the Welsh Government. Details of the outcome will be published in due course.

Fuel Poverty Consultation

Fuel Poverty

Purpose of the consultation

The Climate Change Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is carrying out an inquiry into fuel poverty and would welcome your views on the following:

  • the scale and impacts of fuel poverty in Wales;
  • why the Welsh Government failed to meet its statutory target of eradicating fuel poverty in Wales by 2018;
  • how Welsh Government action to date has helped to combat fuel poverty, in particular, the impact of the Warm Homes Programme (including Nest and Arbed) and the Welsh Housing Quality Standard;
  • how the Welsh Government’s successor to the fuel poverty strategy (due for consultation in Autumn 2019) should differ from its 2010 strategy;
  • what steps the Welsh Government should take to ensure that new-build homes, as well as existing homes, are highly energy efficient to prevent them causing fuel poverty in the future.

The original deadline for submissions to this inquiry was 27 September 2019. This has now been extended to 01 November 2019.

If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

For clarity, there is no designated form for submissions. For those who would like to submit their response electronically, please send your submission in the body of an e-mail or as an attachment to SeneddCCERA@assembly.wales

For those who would like to submit their views in hard copy, letters can be addressed as follows: Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, National Assembly for Wales, Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay, CF99 1NA.

Providing Written Evidence

The National Assembly for Wales has two official languages, Welsh and English.

In line with the Assembly’s Official Languages Scheme, the Committee requests that documents or written responses to consultations intended for publication or use in National Assembly proceedings are submitted bilingually. When documents or written responses are not submitted bilingually, we will publish in the language submitted, stating that it has been received in that language only.

We expect other organisations to implement their own standards or schemes and to comply with their statutory obligation.

Please see guidance for those providing evidence for committees.

Disclosure of information

Please ensure that you have considered the Assembly’s policy on disclosure of information before submitting information to the Committee.

Draft Housing Support Grant practice guidance

Overview

The Welsh Government state the purpose of this consultation is to seek views on the new draft practice guidance for the Housing Support Grant (HSG), which has been produced by the Welsh Government in partnership with external stakeholders. The guidance sets out the framework in which local authorities should operate and administer the grant.

The HSG, introduced in April 2019, seeks to improve the outcomes of a range of
individuals who are amongst the most vulnerable in society through the range of early intervention, prevention and support interventions. The HSG’s main purpose will be to address the housing and housing related support needs of those individuals. 

Consultation Documents

 

This consultation ended on 29th November 2019.

Reviewing responses

The responses to this consultation are currently being reviewed by the Welsh Government.

Details of the outcome will be published here in due course.

Policy Context - Wales

Policy Context

● The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduced homelessness prevention and relief duties – the impact of which had had longer to embed when this survey was undertaken.


● In 2017 the Welsh Government made available additional funding available to reduce rough sleeping. Within this additional funding, investment was focused on supporting a range of new projects based on Housing First approaches. By mid-2017 a number of Housing First projects were in operation across Wales.

Ongoing consultations in Northern Ireland

There are presently no ongoing Government-led consultations in Northern Ireland.

Please find below a list of recently 'closed consultations' in Northern Ireland. You can read the latest developments, the consultations key findings, and the impact of your voice as frontline worker.

Do you have any questionnaires or open consultations which you would like us to promote on the Frontline Network? Please feel free to contact us with details at: frontline@stmartinscharity.org.uk

Closed consultations in Northern Ireland

Definition of Affordable Housing

Consultation Description

Having considered the relevant issues relating to affordable housing, the Department has reached the following preliminary conclusions:

• An overarching non-product based definition of affordable housing will provide a framework for increasing housing supply while being flexible enough to accommodate
changing needs and demands;

• Affordable housing, particularly where there is public funding to support either the development of or access to this option, needs to be viewed as outside the mainstream market;

• Affordable housing funded by Government should remain affordable or there should be provision for public funding to be repaid or recycled to provide further affordable
homes; and

• There is clear potential to broaden the focus for intermediate housing to include groups such as, active older people, those with disabilities and those on low incomes but who do not have sufficient points for social rented housing.

2.3 These conclusions have informed the Department’s decision to propose an updated overarching definition for affordable housing, as follows:

"Affordable housing is housing provided for sale or rent outside of the general market, for those whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing which is funded by Government must remain affordable or, alternatively, there must be provision for the public subsidy to be repaid or recycled in the provision of new affordable housing."

The Northern Ireland Department for Communities is seeking views on its proposals to change the Definition of Affordable Housing. The current definition of affordable housing was drafted to reflect the affordable housing products available at the time of its development, namely social housing and shared ownership housing. The Department considers that it is now timely to provide a revised definition of affordable housing which incorporates a wider range of intermediate housing products.

This consultation is now closed. The responses to this consultation are currently being reviewed by the Northern Irish Government. Details of the outcome will be published in due course.

Policy Context - Northern Ireland

Policy Context

Ending Homelessness Together: The Homelessness Strategy for 2017-2021 plans to further develop the ‘Housing First’ pathway model developed during the previous strategy.

The intention is to explore the potential for other types of housing-led pathway models and examine existing outreach models that provide services to rough sleepers as part of rough sleeping action plans.

Networking

We believe that through networking with other frontline workers in your area, it is possible to break down the silos that we all too often find ourselves working in, as well as build relationships that will prove invaluable to obtaining the best outcomes for the people you work with. 

We facilitate networking through our local Frontline Networks, but if there isn't a local network in your area, we also promote a wide range of events for frontline workers through our 'What's on' pages. 

Alternatively, if you think there are a lack of opportunities for frontline workers in your area to network, you could apply to our Events Fund for funding to put on an event for frontline workers in your area. 

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