Partnership and Collaboration
Partnership and Collaboration are essential if we are to end homelessness together
We need more than just internal processes and involving service users and staff in participating if we are to create a context of inclusion and community. It is equally important that we create a sense of community at an organisational level between service providers. Partnership and collaboration are essential if we are to end homelessness together.
A vision to end homelessness together
Ultimately as organisations working together in the homelessness sector, we have to be united around a common goal: ending homelessness. If that is not your aim, then it is hard to conceive why you are in it in the first place.Our vision is to make homeless history by ensuring that no-one gets left behind. We believe that it is achievable and within realistic timescales.
By that we do not mean that we are going to eradicate homelessness altogether. There will always be family breakdown, alcoholism, drug addiction and other issues that can and do lead people to losing their home. We do believe however that in many circumstances homelessness could be prevented before it happens. Where it is perhaps inevitable it should only be temporary and short-lived with immediate solutions to hand. We want to be part of creating a housing system where no-one gets left behind. A just system where everyone has equal opportunity to housing and the help that they need to sustain it.
We cannot do this on our own. If as a single organisation we try and do everything then we will be good at nothing. Our resources will be spread too thin and we will offer mediocre services to those we seek to serve. We don’t need to try and do everything. There are already other organisations across our city that complement what we do and are already good at what they do. Partnership and collaboration are essential if we are to end homelessness together.
Partnership and collaboration in Wolverhampton
In Wolverhampton we have organisations such as:
- the Refugee Migrant Centre provides specialist care and advice to refugees and migrants;
- the Service User Involvement Team and Recovery Near You work alongside drug addicts and alcoholics;
- Good Shepherd Ministries provide food, clothing, showers, support, meaningful activities, volunteering opportunities and so much more.
- P3 have an outreach team and the navigator which is the homeless drop in and advice centre;
- The Well foodbank; St George’s community day centre; Wolverhampton Homes, social housing provider; and many more.
In order to ensure that no-one gets left behind, we have to ensure that there are tailor made solutions for anyone and everyone who presents to our services. We can only do this together in collaboration and partnership. Jon Kuhrt from MHCLG says this: “No-one ever claims to have come off the streets through the work of just one organisation”. This is why we started the Shelter partnership which brings together the core organisations involved in tackling homelessness into a form of community. Together we share ideas, best practice and offer alternative solutions.
It is a forum within which we can seek to identify who are the people that are at risk of getting left behind and what are the gaps in service provision that, are leaving these individuals vulnerable. Together we can work out who is already tackling or may be best placed to tackle a particular issue. We want to eradicate duplication of services because that is a waste of resources and confuses matters. We also don’t want there to be gaps between our services because people will get left behind.
A unified pathway of partnership and collaboration
If our service provision is like stepping stones, then people are risk of falling in between. Historically the recovery pathway has been fragmented and complex. Instead we need our collaborative working together to form a unified pathway underpinned by a consistency of relational help. This can only be achieved within the context of a relational community of organisations working together, valuing each other and looking to each other’s interests not just their own. Partnership and collaboration are essential if we are to end homelessness together.