Fionnola Geary, Crisis UK
Our brief: In recent years, changes in UK government policies on welfare access and rules on immigration have contributed to migrant homelessness. ‘Safety net’ support provided by social services is not a long-term solution for migrants suffering from homelessness and many desperately need help to find pathways out of destitution. Furthermore, the issue isn’t even adequately measured – there is significant hidden homelessness within migrant communities, which also includes children. Crisis, the leading homelessness charity in the UK, recognised that this problem needed to be addressed using a sector-wide approach and so commissioned us to convene a 100%Open Crowd of homelessness professionals.
What we did: We created a crowdsourcing platform called End Migrant Homelessness and invited homelessness specialists and workers from 20 different organisations to come together over a short, focused period to innovate fast and effectively. The Crowd first collaborated online to establish the ‘state of the art’, recognising that there are many projects, pilots and initiatives to end migrant homelessness already underway that could be amplified or learned from – one immediate benefit of collaboration. Next, the community turned to new ideas, which were voted on and developed in a series of sector-wide Jams.
What happened: 5 specific ideas were developed by Crisis with other homelessness organisations. These ranged from homeless peer support, a bed finder service, an expert network to a much-needed campaign to reframe the public debate about migrants with no recourse to public funds. The results of this work also form key pillars of Crisis’ new strategy on ending homelessness.