Repurposing our data to help the most vulnerably housed

Just like the Great British Sewing Bee this series, we’re all for repurposing at arc4. Not curtains or duvet covers into dresses in our case, although we do have some keen crafters in the team………

We’re well known for our detailed assessments of local housing markets to support strategic council plans – providing detail about the affordability of the market, what needs to be built and where. We already use this knowledge to inform the investment decisions of housing association development teams and private sector developers.

The next repurposing challenge? Using our data to inform the review of homelessness services…..

Local authorities are required to conduct a homelessness review and develop a homelessness strategy by the Homelessness Act 2002 in England and Housing (Wales) Act 2014. In both cases, the review must consider:

  • the levels, and likely future levels, of homelessness
  • the activities and support services which are available
  • whether suitable accommodation is or will be available

As codes of guidance recognise, much could be done to alleviate and prevent homelessness if we were able to provide an affordable, suitable property for all. Yet, there is a danger that reviews focus primarily on operational matters and the numbers coming through the door, rather than the broader influences of the housing market. It doesn’t help that while the strategic overview of the housing market will be a crucial activity for the local planning development framework, operational homelessness services will sit somewhere between social care and housing.

Only in the most joined-up authorities will constructive conversations be happening about the impact of one on the other. What does the supply of social housing look like? Where are the mismatches and pinch points? How accessible and sustainable is the private rented sector to those with lower incomes? How does all this impact upon the most vulnerably housed, the level of homeless presentations and the length of stay in temporary accommodation? What are the particular issues for younger and older households or those with additional needs?

We believe that arc4 is in a unique position to take on homelessness review commissions as we have a foot in both camps……

We understand your housing market and have data to repurpose. We know how the different tenures operate and co-exist and who they do and don’t provide for. We can also make considered predictions on how this could change in the years to come.

We also have team members with considerable frontline, operational experience of housing and homelessness services. They appreciate your service pressures, influences and constraints because they’ve worked with them themselves. Service review and redesign informed by best practice, but most importantly local circumstances, is what they do, with recent commissions focused on both homelessness and housing options services.

arc4 is also able to provide the full service. For many clients, we have engaged creatively but thoughtfully with an extensive list of public and third sector stakeholders to agree a shared vision and future priorities. We’ve then used these to prepare an informed homelessness strategy to guide future service delivery and supply aspirations.

So…. we’re ready for the challenge. It will take a bit longer than the time allowed on the programme and certainly won’t involve a trip to the haberdashery cupboard (sadly). We’d love to hear from you about opportunities to repurpose our data in your area to help the most vulnerably housed and plan strategically to reduce and prevent homelessness.