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Addressing Homelessness: Reducing-Preventing-Ending

  • Tuesday, 19 September 2017
  • The Studio, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 16:15
  • Overview

The number of people sleeping rough has risen for the sixth year in a row. The latest official figures estimate that 4,134 people are sleeping on the streets, an increase of 16% of the previous year and double the figure from 2010. The human impact felt by the rise cannot be underestimated and exacerbate the plight of those who find themselves with nowhere safe to stay.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “Behind these statistics are thousands of desperate people, sleeping in doorways, bin shelters, stations and parks – anywhere they can find to stay safe and escape the elements.”

Open Forum Events is hosting the Addressing Homelessness: Reducing-Preventing-Ending conference which will look to analyse the current trends in the prevalence of homelessness and the causes perpetuating them, whilst providing valuable insight into overcoming the challenges of providing homes for all.

With the focus on prevention, the government has pledged £40m to support people from becoming homeless in the first instance, rather than having to deal with the consequences once people find themselves without a place they can call home. A further £48m is being provided to support councils to deliver the Homeless Reduction Bill which is progressing through parliament and will mean anyone at risk of losing their home, not just those in vulnerable groups, will get the help they need more quickly. The housing white paper sets out measures to combat the housing shortage and recognises that high rents and costs in the private sector is putting more people at risk of becoming homeless. These are some of the initiatives at national governmental level, however, at ground level there are many local projects that are working with individuals to improve their circumstances.

The Addressing Homelessness: Reducing-Preventing-Ending conference agenda will seek to share understanding and strategic thinking of the homeless situation in the UK and will highlight issues of particular concern such as; the increasing occurrence of youth homelessness, the risks and consequences of modern day slavery and the factors impacting on health in the homeless community. The programme will feature plenary addresses from those at the forefront of tackling homelessness covering the evidence, causes and impacts, whilst examples of successful interventions and projects will be showcased as possible long term solutions which delegates’ own organisations may benefit from adopting. There will be ample opportunity for all participants and contributors to discuss, question and debate the issues throughout the day.

Official government figures for England show that there has been a 51% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in the last two years and a rise of 133% since 2010. On any one night in 2016, 4,134 people were sleeping on the streets. London, as a region, has the highest percentage with the 2016 figures indicating a 3% rise, however, the rest of the country revealed a 21% increase, indicating that homelessness is not only on the increase but becoming more widespread and less of a London centric problem. The East of England showed the largest increase on the previous year of 44%, followed by the North East (42%), East Midlands (23%) and the North East (18%). An analysis by Shelter of official statistics from four different methods of recording homelessness claims that over 250,000 people are without homes in England and even this figure is “a robust lower-end estimate”.

There are many reasons why people find themselves homeless. Losing a private tenancy is currently the main reason, however, other common reasons include relationship breakdown or family and friends unwilling or unable to continue to accommodate them. Factors such as poverty, poor physical and mental health, addictions, unemployment, welfare cuts, lack of affordable housing and domestic violence can also significantly influence and increase the risk of losing your home.

Although no one is safe from becoming homeless, certain groups are more likely to find themselves without a safe place to stay such as single males and migrants. Perhaps most concerning are the levels of young people who are susceptible to becoming homeless. Centrepoint found that in 2015 150,000 young people approached councils for help as they were at risk of becoming or were already homeless. One in three of those seeking assistance are turned away unsupported. Many more fall into the category of ‘hidden homeless’ as they sofa surf through life. Research suggests that over the last three years the true figures for youth homelessness is five times greater than government statutory figures suggest.

The Homeless Reduction Bill, introduced as a private members’ bill by Bob Blackman MP, is designed to ensure that anyone facing the threat of becoming homeless receive the support they need and not just those in the designated priority groups. £48m of government funding will support local authorities to help eligible people- whether they are single or a family- for 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness. Those already homeless will get support for a further 56 days to help them secure accommodation. Free information and advice services will also be made available. The government is committed to putting prevention as the focus to deal with homelessness and to support this will protect the £315m of funding to 2020 for councils to deliver homeless prevention services. A further £40m has also been announced to intervene and help families and individuals before they find themselves on the streets.

The controversy surrounding affordable housing supply further compounds the complexities of homelessness. The recently published housing white paper sets out to reform the housing market and deliver more affordable homes for sale or rent. It will remain to be seen if the outcomes include a reduction in homeless numbers.

Join us at the Addressing Homelessness: Reducing-Preventing-Ending conference where the challenges of homelessness will be confronted, digested and discussed with a view to seek further solutions to ending homelessness.

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  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair’s Opening Address

  • Mark McPherson, Director of Strategy, Partnership and Innovation, Homeless Link (confirmed)
"Welcome and introduction"

Keynote Address

  • Clive Betts MP, Chair, Communities and Local Government Select Committee (confirmed)
"Tackling Homelessness and Rough Sleeping"

Latest figures reveal that homelessness and rough sleeping are on the rise with a 51% increase in the number of people living on the streets during the last two years. What needs to be done to reverse this trend and ensure that everyone has a safe place to stay?

"The Causes of Homelessness"

There is a plethora of reasons why a person of family may find themselves homeless. Currently, losing a private tenancy is cited as the most common reason, however, welfare reforms, relationship breakdown, health issues, poverty and housing shortages are also some of the many factors that can render a person homeless.

  • Martin Gill, Centrepoint, Director of Housing and Support (confirmed)
"Young and Homeless"

Half of all people that are seeking help with homelessness from local authorities and charities are under the age of 25. Similarly, over half of people living in homeless services are young people in the same age bracket. Young people traditionally have additional challenges to overcome with issues such as education, training and skills, substance misuse and mental illness. The regulations recently laid out by the government preventing 18 to 21 year olds from claiming the housing element of Universal Credit are feared may heighten the risks to young people of becoming homeless or sofa surfing.


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Fay Selvan, Chief Executive, Big Issue North (confirmed)
"Changing Demograpics "

Big Issue North has always provided people at the bottom of society with opportunities to earn an income. This session will give the audience an insight into the changing demography of our vendor, and the complexity of meeting housing needs for poor people in the UK today.


Amanda Croome, CEO, Booth Centre (confirmed)

Jo Wilson, Volunteer, Booth Centre (confirmed)

"Re-designing Services Through Co-production"

This presentation will share the experience of The Manchester Homeless Charter and Partnership which is working to re-design homeless services in Manchester bringing together statutory services, voluntary and faith based organisations, businesses, the Universities and most importantly people with experience of homelessness.

"Improving Access to Settled Homes"

The availability of suitable, affordable accommodation is key in preventing and alleviating homelessness. With social housing evictions running at 17,500 a year, allocations to homeless households down and slump in new supply, government is looking to the private rental sector to tackle homelessness. Over the last 20 years, this sector has seen considerable expansion but has become more difficult for low-income households to access. Many families cannot afford a privately rented home, or encounter landlords unwilling to let to benefit claimants. Growing numbers are trapped for years in insecure temporary accommodation, while many low-income renters have no choice but to accept unsuitable homes, poor conditions and bad landlords. What needs to change?

  • Dr. Chris O’Leary, Director, Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed)
"Understanding the underlying causes of homelessness in the private rented sector: evidence from a mixed methods research project"

The number of people who state that the end of their private rented sector tenancy was followed by an episode of homeless has increased in recent years. Rupps (2008), undertaking research at the height of the financial crisis and using data from the homeless charity Shelter, estimates that fifteen per cent of tenancy terminations were followed by an episode of homelessness. Drawing on local authority data on statutory homelessness presentations, the Department of Communities and Local Government believes that over thirty percent of terminations are now followed by an episode of homelessness (DCLG, 2016). Are these accurate and comparable estimates of the levels of homelessness in former private rented sector tenants? What might explain this increase? What factors might be material? Do (a) differences in the types of accommodation accessed; (b) whether the tenancy was the outcome of referral by a local authority; (c) types of landlords and whether the tenant had previous experience of homelessness, matter? What might we learn from data and evidence around the risks, causes and trigger events for homelessness more generally, and how homelessness can be prevented or its duration and impact reduced? I will present findings from a piece of mixed methods research commissioned by the Residential Landlords’ Association to understand the underlying causes of homelessness in the private rented sector. The research draws on interviews with key stakeholders, a survey of landlords, secondary data analysis and work with homeless former private rented sector tenants.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair’s Afternoon Address


Ivan Lewis MP and Councillor Beth Knowles, Joint leads in Homelessness for Greater Manchester Mayor (confirmed)

" Eradicating Homelessness in Greater Manchester"

Data from the government shows that the number of children in B&Bs and hostels across the Manchester city region has more than doubled in two years, to 1,600. Andy Burnham has pledged to eradicate homelessness in Greater Manchester by the end of his first term as metro mayor.

  • David Parker-Radford, Homeless Health Programme Manager, The Queen’s Nursing Institute (confirmed)
"Homelessness Aware Healthcare"

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has an aim to improve the quality of healthcare for people experiencing homelessness. As such, it manages a national homeless health programme which researches homeless and inclusion health issues, shares relevant news and supports the development of good practice through innovation funding and learning events.

QNI Homeless Health Programme

QNI Homeless Health Network - sign up

  • Laura Dodge, Marketing and Communications Manager, Streetwise Opera (confirmed)
"Arts: The missing piece in the homelessness puzzle"

Find out how Streetwise Opera uses music to help people who have experienced homelessness make positive changes in their lives. The award-winning charity runs workshop programmes across England, stages critically-acclaimed operas and manages With One Voice, an international arts and homelessness movement. Streetwise Opera’s work shows that the arts play a vital role in improving wellbeing and increasing social inclusion – key issues in tackling homelessness.


Question and Answer Session


Afternoon Break

"Housing First Project"

Housing First Anglesey provides residential support to homeless people with complex needs. It is currently the only project of its type in Wales.
Housing First differs from the traditional method of housing homeless people as it takes people with complex needs and places them straight into their own rented accommodation. A 24-hour intensive support package is provided to ensure that all the individual’s needs are met and they can then begin to address the underlying issues that caused their homelessness.

  • Tatiana Gren-Jardan, Victim Support and Partnerships Adviser, Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (confirmed)
"Understanding and Responding to Modern Slavery Within the Homelessness Sector"

This report evidences the link between homelessness and modern day slavery. It found that people living on the streets in the UK are at risk of becoming victims of modern slavery. Those that are homeless are vulnerable to the approaches of rogue employers offering work and accommodation whilst the reality is one of exploitation in appalling circumstances. An estimated 10-13,000 people in the UK fall victim to such exploitation, often rendering them destitute and homeless.

Videos:      Emergency Services       Local Government       NHS


If you think someone is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999. In order to protect the potential victim, do not attempt to inform them of your actions.
If you think someone is a potential victim but there is no immediate threat to life, please call the local police on 101.
To refer a potential victim of modern slavery confidentially call the Salvation Army Referral Helpline 0300 3038151 available 24/7
Alternatively, you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks and Event Close

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The Studio, Manchester

The Studio, Manchester

Situated at the heart of the city, just a hop, skip and jump away from all major transport links: thestudiomanchester has much more than 10 vibrant spaces to offer. Whatever the legendary Manchester weather has to throw at you, you’ll always find the warmest of welcomes at thestudio.

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  • Addressing Homelessness
    Addressing Homelessness

who will attend

  • Academics, Analysts and Researchers
  • Benefits Officers
  • Board members
  • Chairs
  • Chief Executives
  • Clinicians
  • Commissioning Officers
  • Community Care Leads
  • Community Development Team Officers
  • Community Engagement Officers
  • Consultants in Public Health/Diet/Rehabilitation
  • Councillors
  • Developers
  • Directors
  • Directors of Care Services
  • Directors/Heads Homelessness & Asylum Services
  • Directors/Heads of Adult Social Services
  • Directors/Heads of Housing
  • Directors/Heads of Housing Associations
  • Directors/Heads of Integrated Care
  • Directors/Heads of Public Health
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Practitioners
  • Family Support Officers
  • Finance Directors
  • GPs
  • Heads of Charities/Third Sector Organisations
  • Heads of Housing Trusts
  • Heads of Mental Health
  • Heads/Leads Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Health and Safety Officers
  • Health and Wellbeing Board Members
  • Health Improvement Teams
  • Homelessness Managers and Officers
  • Housing Advice Teams
  • Housing Options/Needs Team Managers and Officers
  • Housing Policy Managers and Officers
  • Housing Services Management Team Leads
  • In-house lawyers and legal advisers
  • Lettings/Allocations Teams
  • Local Authority Officers
  • Neighbourhood Officers/Managers
  • Principal Officers – Health and Housing
  • Social Housing and Support Officers
  • Strategic Planning and Commissioning Teams
  • Sustainable Housing Project Managers
  • Temporary Accommodation Officers