In many ways, the homeless sector is heading towards a perfect storm. Demand for services is rising fast just as the funding to deliver them disappears.
This is not for lack of effort on the part of many charities and public agencies. But no one thinks the problem is temporary. There are fundamental issues to address in terms of funding, strategy and coordination.
In March 2013, the Berkeley Foundation hosted an event to encourage people to rethink homelessness. Five core ideas emerged. We need to build more homes, focus on prevention, give councils more resource, develop clearer pathways, and coordinate interventions much better.
Since then, we have been working with four housing charities on a collaborative project. We have focused on an agenda combining prevention, multi-sectoral work, and emotional resilience.
These three elements are fundamental to a more effective response to the rising cost and scale of homelessness, though they are not the only part of the housing challenge that needs re-thinking.
Our 'Rethinking Homelessness - What works?' event in November at the Wellcome Trust explored what works when it comes to tackling chronic and repeat homelessness.
Dr Liz Allison, Director of the Psychoanalysis Unit at UCL, Stuart Nevill, Chief Executive of SPEAR and Paul Plant, the Deputy Director at Public Health England, explained some of the science behind the idea of epistemic trust, offered a view from outside the homeless sector and insights into the challenges facing policy makers and commissioning bodies.
The collection of three essays can be downloaded.