Under One Roof: talking about homelessness

Kairos director Mossie Lyons was a delegate last week at the annual conference of Homeless Link, the umbrella organisation for homelessness charities. Here, he reports on the event held in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

The construction industry charity CRASH invited me to join them as a delegate and also to be part of their stand in the exhibition area. This was an honour in itself.

The theme of the conference was Under One Roof and its aim was to draw together everything that homeless charities need to know in one place, and to provide a forum for urgent issues of concern to accommodation and support providers for homeless people. Speakers at plenary and panel sessions included Campbell Robb, CEO of Shelter; Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association; and Grania Long, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Housing. (Kris Hopkins, Minister for Housing, was unable to attend because of parliamentary business.)

Three important themes recurred throughout the conference:

First, in an election year, the importance of putting pressure on politicians to develop a clear strategy to address homelessness – conference agreed that the supply of affordable housing should be at the heart of government strategy.

Second, the correlation between homelessness and poor health: the homeless experience some of the worst health problems in society. Please read Homeless Links’ report The Unhealthy State of Homelessness (see below), which was released last week.

Third, the immense contribution and financial savings to central and local government and the NHS made by local initiatives such as Kairos Community Trust. And in this discussion, the fact that more than a quarter of Kairos staff have come through its own rehab processes stood out as exceptional.

For more information about Homeless Link and to read their report, left: www.homeless.org.uk

For more information about CRASH: www.crash.org.uk