English | Cymraeg Tel: 029 2076 5760 Connect: Twitter

Making youth homelessness everybody’s business

Tamsin Stirling blogs on her trip to find out more about how organisations in the United States and Canada are tackling youth homelessness.

I feel very lucky to have secured a travel fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to travel to California and Canada. The WCMT funds around 150 travel fellowships each year across a range of categories, one of which this year is new approaches to affordable and social housing.

My fellowship is focused on finding out how organisations and networks have engaged communities and businesses in tackling youth homelessness – how they get beyond youth homelessness being seen as primarily, or even solely, the responsibility of statutory and third sector agencies.

I am focusing on this area because youth homelessness is a persistent problem, the negative impact on vulnerable individuals is very significant and the direction of travel in some policy areas in the UK, particularly welfare, has the potential to make things worse over the coming years. I want to find out about effective ways of harnessing and mobilising the capacity of communities and businesses to help prevent, tackle and ultimately end youth homelessness, what has worked well and what the barriers have been to progress.

Between 3 October and 10 November, I will be travelling to cities of various sizes working in different contexts – Los Angeles, Sacramento, Kamloops, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary and Toronto.

In Los Angeles, I’ll be finding out about the 100 days of action on youth homelessness that was undertaken in the city last autumn.

I’ll be visiting York University in Toronto which hosts the Canadian Observatory On Homelessness, the Homeless Hub, an amazingly rich source of research and case studies on all aspects of homelessness, and the recently established Youth Homeless Social Innovation Lab.

In Winnipeg, I’ll be attending the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference – a huge event with over 1,000 delegates which has a youth homelessness strand. In each city, I’ll be visiting a range of organisations working with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to learn about their work. And I’ll also be meeting with some business representatives and funders to find out about their motivation for investing time and money in this issue.

The strapline of WCMT is ‘travel to learn, return to inspire’. A significant part of being a WCMT fellow is disseminating your findings and learning on return to the UK. I will be producing a report from my travels which will be available on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust website in the Spring of 2018. If your organisation or network would like me to give a presentation or facilitate a workshop around my findings, do get in touch.

I also want to link with people during my travels – you can follow my blog and I’ll be tweeting from @TamsinStirling1. If you have questions or issues you’d like me to explore, email me, contact me via the blog or twitter. I look forward to hearing from you!


Sign up to our email newsletter

Every two months we'll email you a summary of the latest news & articles on the WHQ website. Better still, if you're a fully paid up magazine subscriber, you'll get access to the latest members-only articles as well.

Sign up for the email newsletter »

Looking to advertise in our magazine?

Advertising and sponsored features are a great way to raise your profile with our readership of housing and regeneration decision makers in Wales.

Find out more »