WMCA Homelessness Taskforce
The Positive Pathways Model
An explanation of the positive pathway model
Designing out Homelessness
Briefing paper and toolkit
Commitment to Collaborate
An explanation of the C2C Toolkit and our resources
Areas of Work
Information and resources linked to key areas of work for the Taskforce
Links to local help in the region
Contact us about the work of the Taskforce
Following the election of Andy Street as Mayor of the West Midlands in 2017, the Homelessness Taskforce was established with a commitment to bring together organisations, people and resources to tackle homelessness.
Today, the Taskforce has a central Steering Group and related Task Groups comprising of all seven constituent local authorities, key public sector agencies, voluntary and community sector organisations and representation from the business community. In addition, there is a Members Advisory Group made up of Cabinet Members with responsibility for homelessness from each of the seven constituent authorities, bolstering political leadership and accountability. We have set out in detail how we have organised the Taskforce’s structure and the function of its component parts in a separate briefing paper.
The Homelessness Taskforce’s central aim is to Design out Homelessness, in all its forms, by identifying gaps in strategies, policies, procedures, laws, structures, systems and relationships that either cause or fail to prevent homelessness. The purpose of the Taskforce has been to identify conditions for systems change by addressing these gaps.
One of the guiding principles we use when we set out to achieve systems change is that the Taskforce should add value to the work of partners not add extra work to already stretched services. We have written a briefing paper on Adding Value that outlines some of the different ways in which we are coproducing change with a wide range of partners in the region.
What have we achieved so far?
In the 5 years since the Taskforce’s inception in 2017 the environment in which we have been working has changed dramatically and the pressures on households and services has increased.
Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns had significant impacts on both what organisations were focused on and how they worked to tackle emerging challenges. During the periods of lockdown and restricted social contact we continued to support partners to deliver outcomes for households at risk of homelessness. We also captured learning from the region’s collective response to the Everyone In initiative and analysed how practice and systems had adapted in positive ways to help overcome the significant challenges presented by Covid – 19.
More recently, the rises in inflation, fuel and other critical factors have contributed to creating a cost of living crisis that we are still in the midst of; and crucially are yet to see the full impact of.
Despite these system wide shocks the Homelessness Taskforce and its partners have continued delivering the Taskforce’s ‘plan on a page’, making significant contributions to our ambition of Designing out Homelessness across the region. A few examples of our joint work include:
- Agreeing a West Midlands definition of what affordable housing is - one that reflects local incomes both from work and benefits to maximise the level of affordable housing within developments
- Attracting additional funding for the region to tackle homelessness through the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI), Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) and Housing First
- Using Adult Education Budget flexibilities to run sector-based work academies specifically for roles in homelessness, focusing on transferable skills for available jobs
- Publishing IAG resources for veterans, faith and community organisations, and businesses to maximise their impact in Designing out Homelessness
- Rolling out Change into Action in 6 local authority areas, supporting circa 500 individuals to move away from rough sleeping
- Investing in Street Support Network across the region
- Dissemination of and support to use the C2C Toolkit
Our plans – 2023 and beyond
As we look forward our ambition to design out homelessness remains our overarching objective.
As part of that we will continue to support the work of local authorities on ending rough sleeping at the same time as we increase our efforts across all areas of homelessness. For example, by building on the early work of the Children, Families and Young People’s and Domestic Abuse Task Groups.
We will continue working with existing and new partners to redouble our efforts to promote, encourage and embed system change across the WMCA region wherever we can. To help us do that we will be seeking out new partners and networks that might not focus on homelessness currently but that have a critical prevention contribution to make, for example building on the work we have recently started with the Children’s Services Early Help network.
We are under no illusions that achieving our objective will be easy in the current environment but we are hopeful that the commitment of key partners to collaborate and create systemic change can be nurtured as we all seek to prevent the ultimate exclusion that is homelessness.