1. Assemble a committed group of people who will lead the campaign. In section 4 ‘Building a strong local team’ we suggest people to invite on to your leadership group and various subcommittees. Together, using guidance in section 3 ‘Understanding housing and homelessness in your neighbourhood’, you can develop a strong picture of what problems cause street homelessness in your area, and agree what your campaign goals are for tackling these problems. Use the questions set out in ‘8.1 How to design your campaign and communications strategy‘ to discuss what is important in your area, what you can do, and who you may need to target to bring about the change(s) needed.
2. Conduct a ‘Connections Week’ (This is the terminology we use but throughout the toolkit Registry Week is referring to the same thing). A Connections Week is a week of local action that harnesses the knowledge of commitment of those working in homelessness organisations, those sleeping on the streets and the further local community. Local campaign teams ensure that every individual on the street is spoken to, listened to, interviewed and asked to tell their full story of their journey on to the streets and their situation now. This information is then used to make sure services and support truly reflects the needs, hopes and demands of homeless people. Most cities have used a survey called the ‘VI-SPDAT’ (explained in more detail and with examples in section 7 ‘Surveys, data analysis and reports’).
A Connections Week provides important in-depth data and helps create a sense of urgency amongst decision makers, influencers, and the media. It is also a practical first step that brings local people into the campaign and helps break down barriers between people living on the street and people who are not. This YouTube video describes why registry weeks (Connections Weeks) are important. You can see footage from Torbay’s Connections Week in this video.
3. Plan your follow up activities. What you do after the Connections Week depends on the specific needs of the street homeless people living in your area. Your plan is likely to include actions to help people into housing more quickly. A key outcome is often what is known as a ‘By Name List‘ (BNL). This list is the first and critical component for cities that want to create a coordinated assessment and housing placement system (CAHP). By knowing the names and unique needs of every homeless person on its streets, cities and communities can begin to take steps toward moving people off the streets and into housing – something anonymous street counts can’t achieve.
In section 3 ‘Understanding housing and homelessness in your neighbourhood’ and ‘8.1 How to design your campaign and communications strategy’ we offer advice for how to plan campaign activity once you have conducted your survey.
The materials in this section offer ideas and templates you can adapt to help plan your campaign and Registry Week. If you already have good data or information, or a more low-key campaign launch would be more effective than a registry week, the appropriate approach can be determined as part of your planning processes. The templates provided can assist you in this.
2.1 Campaign Launch Checklist – a list of the key activities to consider when planning your Registry Week.
2.2 Registry Week (Connections Week) Template Work Plan – a template work-plan drawn from the Hamilton campaign in Canada, designed to help you keep on track and specify who will be doing what, by when.
2.3 Local Team Project Manager – sample job description and task plan, and examples of how some campaign cities have provided for project manager capacity.
Please see these external websites for more guidance on planning and winning campaigns:
Thank you to Community Solutions for use/adaptation of source materials within this toolkit.