Apply before 19 December
The Transatlantic Practice Exchange is an innovative exchange placement programme funded by Oak Foundation and delivered by Homeless Link in England and the National Alliance to End Homelessness in the US.
The Exchange aims to develop future leaders in the homelessness sector and establish transatlantic good practice connections and to facilitate learning. Applications are open to organisations who will support their staff to apply, offer flexibility to travel and allow time to share their learning. “It’s a great way to raise the profile of your charity and to benefit from a fresh perspective on your organisation’s work,” says Tasmin Maitland, Head of Innovation and Good Practice at Homeless Link.
“The idea is not to bring home lessons to replicate” says Mark McPherson, Director of Strategy, Partnership and Innovation at Homeless Link, “but rather to take a fresh view about how to overcome barriers, think differently and focus on solutions”. The Exchange has already seen great success. In 2016, ten frontline staff took part in a two week placement to learn about the differences in homelessness services practices, spend time in a difference context and develop future leaders. The 2016 participants were exposed to a wide range of different topics and inspirations from exploring the importance of Trauma-Informed Care to understanding how Permanent Supportive Housing can help end the ‘revolving door scenario’ where people repeatedly access homeless services. Participants also discovered the ways in which street outreach can help identify and engage homeless individuals, the links between homelessness, poor health and access to healthcare and how community-level plans and collaborations can be used to combat young and young adult homelessness.
Jenny Goldsmith from the UK based Housing First charity applied for the Exchange since she was frustrated with the transitional nature of services in the UK, and in particular that there is little or no alternative for those where that model doesn’t work, people with serious mental illness, for example. “My time in the US taught me that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach” Goldsmith says, “services should adapt to fit the context they are in and the needs of those they serve.” For Goldsmith, the Exchange offered her the chance to find out more about homelessness in the US, “but in addition it took me out of my comfort zone, challenged many of my own preconceived ideas and forced me to ask questions of my own practice. It was without doubt the greatest experience of my working life and one that I cannot recommend enough”.
You will find more information about how to apply here.