by Martin Gavin
Have you ever watched someone struggle to push a car that’s broken down, edging forward an inch at a time trying to get the vehicle to the side of the road? Then someone else begins to push, followed by another couple of helpful passers-by and quickly the vehicle is rolling forward.
Everyone Home collective came together in May 2020 in response to the pandemic with a few people who knew one another. Membership is now 37 organisations and individuals, all pushing in the same direction. At the time it provided momentum and mutual support in response to a crisis and was a space for senior leaders in the homelessness sector and leading academics in the field to focus on the issues amid the intense noise of the initial reaction to Covid.
More than 18 months later, the Everyone Home collective has set out priorities for tackling the biggest issues in homelessness coming up, with a ‘Platform for Change 2022’. It builds on successful measures to address homelessness during the pandemic and consolidates the ‘Ask About Housing’ message developed last year, aimed at anyone who comes into regular contact with individuals and families, from GPs and teachers to neighbours or friends.
For me, being involved in the Everyone Home collective has been inspiring and sometimes surprising. Witnessing the impact and sustainable change that has come about through genuine collaboration is refreshing – it’s a lively, friendly and challenging environment where some of the biggest and smallest teams work collectively, along with individual members, with scale and specialism valued equally.
Over the summer in 2020, as we all tried to make sense of how the first global pandemic in a century would affect our own objectives and goals, it was clear that no one organisation could ensure homelessness remained high on the agenda of local and national government with competing and urgent priorities vying for resources and attention.
The collective’s first move was to identify three urgent priorities. These are: more homes for good health; no return to rough sleeping; no evictions into homelessness. The collective now meets less frequently but still regularly – providing a platform to Scottish Government, local authorities and housing associations to implement shared priorities to end homelessness.
These measures remain central to ending homelessness for good and still underpin the platform for change in 2022 – setting out what works and what matters along with the change that’s needed over the coming 12 months and the specific role that the Everyone Home collective will contribute. Among the measures are:
‘Ask About Housing’ professional and public perceptions programme to support implementation of new duties to prevent homelessness
commissioning expert support to scope the potential of high-value social investment to increase housing supply in targeted areas
a route-map on a role for the private rented sector to increase housing capacity and options to prevent and respond to homelessness
securing a strategic funding partnership to mobilise Fair Way Scotland and bring about an end to destitution among people with no recourse to public funds.
We have all benefitted as individuals and organisations from being part of Everyone Home and I’ve learned a lot about what real collaboration looks like. Out of adversity, we’ve seen huge strides forward in dealing with the systemic issues that lead to homelessness. For me, the collective captures the soul of this sector perfectly.