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Joined the campaign: July 2016

Who’s involved? The campaign in Croydon is led by Evolve Housing and Support.  Partners include Crisis, Expert Link and Thames Reach. Croydon Council are also supporting the campaign.

Context: Homelessness has been increasing in Croydon in recent years. The latest 2016/17 CHAIN figures (a London wide homelessness database) suggests that the number of people sleeping on the streets in Croydon is 192.

What has happened so far? Croydon has completed two Connections Weeks as part of the campaign which they have named CRZero2020 . During the first connections week held in August 2016, volunteers from the local community met with 64 people sleeping on the street. In August 2017 102 surveys were completed and 81 people had slept on the streets in the last year. See more of the results from the 2016 Connections Week here and the 2017 week here.

Croydon has developed a Solutions Group involving local people and organisations. The group is split into five different ‘Task and Finish groups’ working towards different goals:

  • Policy and Influencing
  • Housing Access
  • Working with the Council
  • Health
  • Housing First

You can read more about the groups’ priorities in coming months here .

The work includes looking for ways to overcome barriers that homeless people face getting into housing. These include issues such as a lack of housing for people with pets, a lack of political will for change, and people sleeping on the streets not being accepted into services due to having no local connection. In January 2018 an ‘Influencing event’ was held to help get politicians and housing providers involved.

Voices of people with lived experience:

The survey used in the 2017 Connections Week included the additional question ‘What are your aspirations for the future?’ to give the people surveyed more opportunity to put forward their thoughts. Answers included ‘Run my own Stables’, ‘Help Others’ and ‘Have a bath and watch a film’. The Solutions Group includes people with lived experience of homelessness including CJ who talks about how volunteering in the campaign and in the Housing First Solutions Group has benefited him here. Expert Lnk an organisation which promotes the voices and views of people including people with experience of homelessness are a key partner in the campaign.

What’s next?

Croydon is continuing to build momentum for change through their Solutions Group and Task and Finish groups. They will now be working with those who attended their public influencing event  in January to see how they can create change.

They are also in the process of developing a By Name List which is an active list of all people sleeping on the streets in Croydon. This is so that people in the most need can be moved into housing quickly and effectively. This will be the first time in the UK that this type of list will be able to be used and accessed by all organisations working to find homes for people on the streets. This should help to prioritise finding homes for those who are most vulnerable.

Evolve Housing and Support have just launched a fundraising campaign to raise money a Housing First project. The money raised will provide a year of wrap-around support for 8 homeless people to access Housing First accommodation. Find out more here.

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