PPIW Report Publication – Evaluating the Contribution the Supporting People Programme makes to Preventing and Tackling Homelessness – Feasibility Study

Tamsin Stirling

Following a request from the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, the PPIW commissioned Tamsin Stirling to conduct a feasibility study to consider how the contribution the Supporting People programme makes to preventing and tackling homelessness might be evaluated.

Drawing on previous evaluations of the Supporting People programme and prevention of homelessness in Wales and beyond, as well as discussions with key informants, the report sets out an approach for this evaluation. The suggested approach is based on a set of principles which include:

  • that tackling and preventing homelessness are considered as outcomes from Supporting People in their own right; this requires clarity of definitions in relation to tackling and preventing homelessness;
  • acknowledgement of the diversity of Supporting People services and of the detail of commissioning and service delivery; it is not just immediate short-term actions that prevent or tackle homelessness;
  • that there is benefit in involving different perspectives in evaluation, e.g. both quantitative and qualitative, service user and professional perspectives;
  • simplicity and keeping bureaucracy to a minimum;

The report suggests the following in relation to definitions of preventing and tackling homelessness:

  • tackling homelessness – providing people who are homeless with accommodation alongside the provision of housing-related support which addresses at least some of the issues that led to homelessness;
  • preventing homelessness narrow definition– enabling an individual/household to maintain accommodation which is likely to be available for occupation by the individual/household for at least 6 months (closely linked to statutory definition from the Housing (Wales) Act 2014);
  • preventing homelessness broader definition – reducing the risk of loss of home through eviction, non-renewal of tenancy or repossession, either by reducing risk factors or by building protective factors.

The report suggests that the approach to evaluating the contribution of the Supporting People programme to preventing and tackling homelessness should involve:

  • both quantitative and qualitative data drawn from organisational and service user perspectives;
  • maximising the use of existing data sources and processes;
  • embedding tackling and preventing homelessness in the new outcomes framework for Supporting People;
  • ongoing exploration of the potential for data matching via the SAIL databank to identify the impact of Supporting People beyond homelessness into health and social care, for example;
  • providing local authorities and support providers with sufficient notice to ensure they have systems through which they can effectively collect the data and piloting new approaches to ensure that they are tested before roll out to all local authorities/service providers

To view the report, please click here.

For more information, please contact Lauren Carter-Davies lauren@ppiw.org.uk

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