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Tackling the structural causes of homelessness

Housing and Homelessness Programme / Partner story

© Broad Street Ministry

From giving a voice to marginalised members of the community, to addressing institutional racism, to contributing to reducing poverty, our Housing and Homelessness Programme supports projects that work to challenge and resolve systemic causes of homelessness in the UK and the US. Here are some of their recent achievements:

Broad Street Ministry (BSM) provides food, support, healthcare and housing advice in Philadelphia, the US to members of the community. One of BSM’s projects included a civic engagement initiative in 2020, where trained workers engaged people to register to vote and participate in the census. The thinking behind this was that people experiencing homelessness are undercounted. For example, only a third of the actual number of people experiencing homelessness were recorded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the 2010 census. This shows a huge disparity in terms of representing these vulnerable people, and as a result, the full recognition of their needs. This may mean that both they and the communities where they live miss out on Government funding or other opportunities.
Within the first week of BSM’s pilot, more than 50 people completed a voter registration application and census questionnaire. This was a great step towards ensuring that the most vulnerable and marginalised members of the community were accounted for, and their voices heard. Full details of this important work can be found here.

North Star Fund (NSF) is a social justice fund that supports grassroots organising by communities of colour, to build power in New York City and the Hudson Valley. NSF added USD 2 million to its ‘Let Us Breathe Fund’, to support Black-led groups engaging in grassroots organising. NSF’s fund is a response to George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota and its tragic similarity to Eric Garner’s death. It is hoped that this fund will help support Black, Indigenous, and people of colour communities’ leadership in addressing institutional racism. Full details of this initiative can be found here.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is a UK-wide not-for-profit organisation that works to prevent and solve poverty by campaigning and advocating in support of families and children to make sure they get the financial support they need. Some of CPAG’s achievements, which contributed to reducing poverty and supporting people to maintain and secure their housing, are listed below: 

  • Secured GBP 63 million for local welfare assistance in England.
  • Won financial support for bereaved families.
  • Secured increased financial support for parents and carers of children who are isolating to be able to apply for Covid-19 payments in Wales. (Building on its research, showing out of classroom of 25 pupils in Wales, seven children are living in poverty and four of them are not even eligible for free school meals).
  • Won two test cases to increase the rights of refugee families with children and returning British citizens with disabled children to access welfare benefits (Sure Start Maternity Grant in the former, and Disability Living Allowance in the latter).

Click here to view a video and slide presentation of CPAG’s achievements in 2020.

The work of these partners illustrates a broad range of the great work being taken forward to tackle the structural causes of homelessness. HHP’s partners are working to create a fairer society by creating opportunities, and building strong communities where everyone can thrive and live dignified lives. Read about other work being done within the programme here.