Research highlights impact of COVID-19 on homelessness in Milton Keynes
Charity aims to set up central hub with 10 recommendations to address homeless crisis
Calls for homelessness to remain front and centre on agendas with long term investment to enable real and lasting change, have come in response to challenges presented by the pandemic.
The findings have been highlighted in the inaugural research report of Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) which puts a spotlight on the real impact of COVID-19 across the sector and on people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness across Milton Keynes.
For the first time, the voices of Milton Keynes’ organisations across the voluntary and statutory sector, together with business highlight their concerns and trepidation for the future while harnessing collective optimism on what could be achieved if lessons from the pandemic are learned and acted upon.
Carried out in March and April 2021, a series of in-depth and compelling interviews across the network tested the mood of the sector. The research sought to get under the skin of the historical battle in Milton Keynes around homelessness. As relevant now as at the beginning of lockdown, the research compares Milton Keynes to the national picture uncovering unique local issues but also sharing national concerns around welfare payments, eviction bans, and more people beginning to present as homeless.
Tracey McCillen, chief executive MKHP, said: “Hearing the realities from the organisations at the heart of Milton Keynes homelessness sector really does present a compelling story. We need our political leaders locally and nationally to listen, work with us and enable the change that the people of Milton Keynes need and deserve.
"We need assurances that homelessness will remain front and centre on agendas and that long term investment is available for the sector to enable real and lasting change.”
Ms McCillen added: “Our aspiration is for MKHP to provide a central hub for the homelessness sector in Milton Keynes where insights, data, best practice and knowledge is consolidated and openly shared. The publication of our report today is an important milestone in bringing that aspiration to life.”
The research focused on the pandemic's impact on public perceptions, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and service providers in Milton Keynes. Through personal experiences qualitative and quantitative data, the research tracks Milton Keynes’ journey concluding with ten recommendations:
> Improve cross sector communication
> Maintain and enhance public awareness through a coordinated approach with key messages from the across the sector
> Listen to and learn from people with lived experience
> Create a learning culture, implementing evaluation and monitoring as the norm
> Improve data by establishing a sector wide data framework and joint action plan
> Build on collaborative working by establishing a ‘Charter for Change’
> Influence local systems and policy change
> Focus funding on prevention
> Focus on the wider housing market
> Achieve clarity on future planning.
MKHP is a network of organisations which connect to prevent and end homelessness in Milton Keynes.
Its work was funded from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
MKHP is a charity and support can be provided in several ways including sponsorship, volunteering, expert services or donating. You can donate in person through local tap to donate locations in Milton Keynes, online at www.justgiving.com/mkhomeless or by texting MKHOMELESS to 70085 to donate £5.