The Atlas has a new visualisation for 2023 – a map that provides three quick links for each London Local Authority. Becky Rice, Atlas project manager explains more about this new feature below.
In late 2022 London Housing Foundation (LHF) were approached by London Councils and Transformation Partnerships in Health and Care (TPHC – previously Healthy London Partnership) for input on providing quick access to information about local authority housing options services for people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.
While all local authorities have to work to prevent and relief homelessness (including rough sleeping), the structure of each of the 33 websites are different and the information about these provisions can be hard to find. People who may need to access this information include staff in hospitals or probation services concerned about someone at risk of rough sleeping.
Homeless Link (who deliver the Atlas website) and LHF asked each local authority to provide three links that would be helpful to those working with people at risk of rough sleeping. These were identified as:
- General information for those at immediate risk of rough sleeping
- Out-of-hours contact for those at immediate risk of rough sleeping
- Duty to Refer instructions (for organisations who want to let the local authority know that they think someone is at risk of homelessness – for some organisations this is a requirement under the Homelessness Reduction Act)
Nearly all local authorities (31) provided this information, for the others LHF undertook our own research.
All areas responding provided a clear and helpful link about the Duty to Refer.
When asked for more general advice for those at immediate risk, some areas provided information on rough sleeping services such as StreetLink and day centres, rather than housing advice and options. In response to this the information was adjusted to reflect the access point for advice, and LHF will be creating a fourth link for pages about each local authority’s rough sleeping provision.
Generally, it was possible for areas to provide an out of hours contact number (or the main switchboard number which works as an out of hours option) – however some were not able to provide this, or suggested people contact StreetLink (who are unable to provide an immediate emergency response. In some cases, it appeared that the out of hours number was reserved for particular groups only (families with children who have a social worker or those fleeing domestic violence were examples). LHF, Homeless Link and London Councils will be working to improve this resource and ensure each area has the most helpful information possible.
The new map is now live and has been shared with all Heads of Housing Needs. Homeless Link are currently working to ensure that the mobile version of the map is as accessible as possible, as the Atlas is primarily aimed at desktop users.
We would like to thank all boroughs who provided this additional information for the Atlas as well as the data supplied each year. As always comments and suggestions are very welcome and can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com,uk