It’s that time of year again when we launch the LHF Atlas with refreshed data and statistics. The 2022 release will go live next week. Becky Rice, LHF Atlas Manager, explains how data collection has been progressing and what we can look forward to this year.
Full annual data refresh
We start the Atlas refresh each year in late October. Homeless Link are commissioned to deliver the Atlas; I work with Gareth Thomas, Homeless Link’s Senior Information Manager to put together a plan of action for the November – March period.
Homeless Link then lead on compiling data for local authorities and homelessness services to check and edit. Information is initially sent to boroughs to check, usually to people working in commissioning accommodation or in rough sleeping coordinator roles. The support of the GLA and London Councils for the Atlas has really helped us get interest and support from boroughs over the years. This year we are very pleased that 30 of the 33 London boroughs had responded at the time of writing providing updates and checks. Some boroughs have far more information to check, so we are particularly grateful to areas such as Westminster and Camden for their help with this.
After the borough checks are well underway Homeless Link reaches out to service delivery organisations to review the information currently showing in the Atlas about their services. Again, we get a great response and are very grateful to our sector colleagues for this. There are a lot of different data sets to consider and some of them we collect directly from relevant managers. For example, I meet with St Mungo’s about the pan London services commissioned by GLA (such as the Staging Posts and assessment hubs) each year as there has often been changes in the structure of these services and its helpful to get a good sense of how things have developed. To obtain data about accommodation services we usually get senior support for helping with the Atlas, and then someone working in information services centrally provides the required data checks.
Analysis and collation
Once data collection closes Gareth and his team have the unenviable task of triangulating this data to get the most accurate picture possible to upload into our unique visualisations. What we get from boroughs and from agencies might differ slightly for various reasons so that needs to be bought together. For example, there are sometimes services based within a borough geographically which are not commissioned by that borough so they may not have included them in the return.
What to look out for in the 2022 release
Some of the things I will be curious to explore in the next Atlas release include:
- What’s happened for London’s Winter Shelters after last year saw such a dramatic change in their delivery approach and drop in numbers last year due to Covid-19.
- The pandemic also saw the end of the GLA funded No Second Night Out Assessment Hubs delivered by St Mungo’s with their communal sleep spaces but new to the assessment services picture are the Turnaround Hubs with associated accommodation (with the same funder and provider) – it will be good to see these reflected in the Atlas
- Around a month after the main release, we will be launching a new area of the Atlas with time series analysis showing trends in the selected data over time.
Personally though what I’m most looking forward to is speaking with more boroughs to continue our Borough Focus blog series! Parts one and two can be found on a new dedicated Atlas Blogs page on the LHF website. If you would like to ensure you never miss and Atlas update or blog please sign up to our new Atlas Updates mailing list by contacting Becky (contact info below).
Get in touch
Please remember we can make changes to the Atlas at any time if there is an error or a change in a particular service. Just get in touch with Gareth or me. We also welcome feedback and suggestions for improvements at any time of the year!