Policy, Activism and Politics

Daphne Street to Home project: final event in Italy

Project partners of the Daphne Street to Home project convened in Bergamo, Italy in late October 2014 to present findings of the project at the FEANTSA 2014 Policy Conference.

The conference, entitled ‘Confronting Homelessness in the EU: Seeking Out the Next Generation of Best Practices’ had been specifically selected as an appropriate event to disseminate findings as it provided ‘an opportunity for 450 practitioners from across Europe to exchange information on relevant policy and practice to prevent and reduce homelessness’.

Homelessness

The conference had a varied programme including plenary sessions and workshop sessions. The workshop sessions included presentations from 2-3 keynote speakers, followed by space for group discussions looking both backward to successful best practices but also forward by reflecting on approaches needed in the future.

The morning of 25 October was dedicated to fostering new dynamics and projects through 10+ Networking Hotspots. These included visits to local projects in Bergamo, information sessions about EU projects/developments, meetings of various FEANTSA partners (HABITACT, Ministries Forum, HOPE, etc.), roundtables of experts, and some creative spaces. The Daphne Street to Home project was presented at one of these hotspots.

The session shared details of the UK dissemination event, particularly how the experiences of an economist from a privileged background who had spent some time in prison and experienced the difficulties faced by women with complex needs, recognised why prison is not the right place to rehabilitate. Upon release, she looked in greater detail at what was needed and at the waste, in economic terms, of keeping women with complex needs in a system which doesn’t work.

Street to Home

This provided a good analogy of what a good evaluation is like:

  • Identify the problem
  • Why it isn’t working
  • Look for a solution
  • Find a way to pay for it

It also characterises the intervention that was evaluated in the UK leg of the project, which investigated a partnership between a social housing provider, Midland Heart, and a women’s centre, Anawim. The idea behind the alliance was to bring two needs together to form a win/win situation. A cost benefit analysis of the partnership, which formed a central part of the session, has provided evidence of cost savings that will, hopefully, ensure the sustainability of the partnership in the long term.

The session also enabled partners to highlight the differences in provisions of accommodation for women with complex needs that exist in each individual country and the initiatives, or lack of initiatives in some cases, that have been devised to tackle the problem. The session was well received by delegates and had to be repeated as a further set of delegates were also interested to hear more about the project.