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With housing being on the forefront of most conversations, it is important now more than ever to look into all options available to innovate, simplify and support the ever-increasing workload of all housing staff.

With that in mind, Home Connections, House Exchange and Homefinder UK have gotten together to produce The Ultimate Housing Roadshow. Starting in East Midlands, then following in Scotland, this event will focus on mobility across social housing sector, house swapping and various housing software including HOPE, the Homelessness Reduction Act software.

Leicester – 22nd of March 2018 – book here

Glasgow – 8th of May 2018 – book here

London – 26th of September 2018 – book here

 

The Ultimate Housing Product Bundles you will get to see and examine at our upcoming roadshow:

1, Comprehensive Social Housing Relocation Options: Homefinder UK and House Exchange.

2, Are you HRA-Ready? HOPE software & Homefinder UK (with built in Mutual Exchange)

3, Local Authority setup: Choice Based Lettings/Housing Register

4, Digital by Default: Smartphone Apps/Online E-Forms/Websites/Integration across all platforms

5, Go the extra mile: Housing First & Fraud Detection

Sign up to receive updates.

Book your free tickets today. Complimentary lunch included!

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27 & 28 February 2018, EICC Edinburgh

Join us on stand 44 to find out more about our pioneering housing solutions.

  • Homefinder UK
  • Choice Based Lettings (CBL)
  • Housing Register
  • Fraud Detection
  • Accessible Housing Registers
  • Housing Options
  • Mutual Exchange
  • Data Integration
  • Web design & hosting
  • Smartphone Apps
  • Housing First

    If you’re not attending CIH this year, please get in touch to find out more: office@home-connections.co.uk

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Over eighty housing professionals convened at the National Union of Teachers in central London on 2nd November to hear from the Act’s sponsor, Bob Blackman, MP and explore how the Homelessness Reduction Act will impact the nation and local housing services.

The annual conference marking Home Connections’ 15th Anniversary brought together global leaders, key stakeholders and like-minded professionals across the housing sector to give them the momentum they need to strategically navigate the challenges of today’s most significant social housing reform. Primarily focusing on how to best leverage new opportunities to benefit those struggling with the detrimental effects of homelessness.

Bob Blackman MP, sponsor of the Homelessness Reduction Act, delivered the keynote speech, which highlighted the HRA’s significance stating it is the longest, most substantial and well funded Private Member’s Bill in UK history. Mr Blackman said: My legislation is as much about a culture change in councils, away from crisis response, towards prevention strategies and early intervention, as is it is about long term savings. I believe frontline staff want to work to help people who are at risk of homelessness or who are already suffering and I want to empower them to feel able to do everything possible, rather than to find themselves rationing services. It’s also about ensuring that public organisations, like NHS hospitals or prisons, have a duty to refer someone as well when someone is either homeless or being released into a situation where homelessness is likely. This is a great chance for councils to innovate and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The full-day conference taught attendees how to navigate the complex HRA roadmap to legal compliance by using cutting-edge HOPE software, utilizing H-CLIC , and risk mitigation techniques. The forum featured 5 speeches from key influencers, 4 interactive workshops, panel discussions, and unveiled fascinating new research designed to illuminate the public’s attitude toward homelessness, housing and mobility.

Based on the thought-provoking 2017 UK Attitudes to Housing, Homelessness and Mobility study debated at the conference, 58% of 2,077 UK adults felt there was not a significant amount of sustainable housing being built and a nearly 6 in ten people believed the private rental sector should be utilized for social housing tenants suffering from the housing shortage.

Global homelessness expert and chief executive officer of Y-Foundation, Juha Kaakinen, explained how Finland systematically cured it’s housing crisis using the Housing First Model. Making Finland the only country in the EU not facing a serious homelessness quandary.

Juha explained: ‘Even without any further pilots, experiments or evaluations we know that Housing First is working, but you can get the real benefits of it only if it is implemented as a national policy. Homelessness can be ended, but only permanent housing is a sustainable solution which means that the existing hostel and shelter system for temporary accommodation has to be radically changed. Ending homelessness requires an unforeseen collaboration and partnership of the organizations working in the field. And finally, it goes without saying that affordable social housing is the best solution both for the prevention and ending of homelessness.’

Key housing influencers demonstrated how to best to rise to the challenges posed by the HRA. Ninesh Muthiah, CEO of Home Connections revealed that the cutting-edge HOPE software will play a pivotal role in facilitating local government’s allocation of social housing. Shadow Housing Minister, Melanie Onn MP shared her inspirational personal account of overcoming homelessness and Guardian columnist, Dawn Foster shed light on the severity Britain’s current social housing landscape.

Muthiah said: “This conference was an essential signpost for anyone involved in reducing homelessness. Delegates from the highest levels in the housing sector joined front line teams to learn more how to implement this complex and potentially life-changing piece of legislation. I am proud that we are playing our part to help local authorities to navigate the Act and providing low cost software solutions which will smooth the way for caseload work”.

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Hear from Bob Blackman – the MP behind the Homelessness Reduction Act, Melanie Onn Shadow Housing Minister, Dawn Foster from the Guardian Newspaper, Juha Kaakinen – the inspiration behind Housing First in Finland which helped to massively reduce Homelessness. Book here.

 CIH Members receive 5 CIH CPD Hours for attendance. Sign up before Friday 6th October to take advantage of our early bird rates!

Home Connections Annual conference is returning this year in style to celebrate our 15th anniversary!

Our speakers and afternoon workshops will help delegates to understand the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) how to stay within the law and discuss practical ways to implement the act whilst minimising administrative overheads.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Bob Blackman MP, Sponsor of the new Homelessness Reduction Act
  • Melanie Onn MP, Shadow Housing Minister. The HRA and beyond – what else should be done to help solve the problem of homelessness?
  • Dawn Foster, Columnist, The Guardian Newspaper – Just how bad is Britain’s social housing problem?
  • Juha Kaakinen, Chief Executive of the Y-Foundation in Finland – How Housing First significantly reduced homelessness in Finland
  • Alan Benson, Head of Housing Strategy and Commissioning, LB Haringey
  • Minos Perdios – Housing Reviews Manager at Housing Reviews
  • Patrick Odling-Smee – Director of Housing at Luton Borough Council

Date: 2nd of November ’1

Time: 8.45 am – 4.45 pm 

Venue: Hamilton House, Mabledon Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BJ

 Hear personal experiences of homelessness and take part in practical workshops which aim to provide an invaluable update on the HRA roadmap. Delegates will also witness practical examples of new approaches to homelessness and homelessness prevention. Our line-up of expert speakers and interactive workshops will provide insight, opinion and stimulate debate on the HRA. Benefit from real life experiences and projects that can help you to implement the HRA. Book your place today to benefit from early bird discounts.

Join colleagues for the plenary session and select your workshop stream to discuss your ideas and hear from others how they intend to implement the Act.

CIH Members receive 5 CIH CPD Hours for attendance.

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‘The new Homelessness Reduction Act makes it clear that the S188(1) duty can only be brought to an end once the relief duty has come to an end which means that there will be people staying much longer in interim accommodation than has been the case so far.’

It is no secret that the biggest challenge for local authorities with regards to meeting the needs of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) is to decide what model will work.

Minos Perdios, of Housing Reviews Limited says: ‘For some local authorities it will be best to have one person deal with the prevention and relief stages and also assessing under the main duty criteria. However, for others it will best to split the service amongst multiple officers.  Whatever the model local authorities will need to engage the private rented sector, think outside the box when it comes to developing accommodation within their local area and forming non-traditional partnerships.’

Under the current system, if a single man approaches the Council claiming to suffer from mental health problems, the Council will accommodate him, as they have reason to believe that he is homeless, eligible and have a priority need. Currently, this is not causing any issues as local authorities can complete their enquiries fairly quickly and on issuing a S184 not in priority decision letter they can evict meaning that such applicants are only in interim accommodation for a few days. However, under the new system a local authority will not be able to evict until the relief duty comes to an end and this can be for as long as 56 days.

Therefore, if we continue following our current practices, we will see a significant increase in ‘live cases’, leading to a lot of applicants potentially having an open case with the local authority in excess of four months.

We need to ‘Think out of the box’ explains Minos, preventing homelessness and the need to accommodate under the main duty forces many authorities into thinking that ‘nothing will change’ due to lack of affordable housing in private rented sector. This is where we need to look for innovative solutions.

‘If I was a front-line officer, reviews officer or manager the thing that I would want from an IT system is for it to do almost everything for me! I would expect the system to guide me step by step through the requirements of the legislation, forcing me to cover all aspect of the legislation and helping me to ask the right questions and make the right enquiries to make a legally sound decision. I have found such a system in HOPE, the Homelessness Reduction Act software service delivered by Home Connections and Homefinder UK.’

‘It has been clear to me from the outset that Home Connections share the same passion and desire to create a unique IT programme that truly meets the needs of officers working in relation to the HRA. For that reason, Housing Reviews have decided to work with Home Connections to deliver software which will help to reduce workload of frontline staff.’

 

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A borough council is good to go with a new case management system pitched as easing administration of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

A borough council in Leicestershire will be the first English local authority to go live with HOPE, the Homeless Reduction Act (HRAct) software from Home Connections. The new case management software adopted by Oadby & Wigston Borough Council – and being readied to launch next month – is pitched as the future for easing administration, communications and reporting for local authorities in England and Wales.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 is the biggest change in homelessness legislation since the 1977 Act was introduced. It proposes new duties such as the duty to provide advice and assistance, extended homelessness prevention to 56 days, new reporting requirements and much more. Local authorities will need to change their current working practices and deploy additional resources.

With that in mind, Home Connections has developed a fully configurable case management system with built in assessment and recording tools to help provide advice as well as accommodation options. Home Connections is a boutique software house developed as a not for profit service provider for the social housing sector owned and controlled by local authorities and housing associations with a brief to provide ‘best of breed’ technology and consultancy.

HOPE is aimed to ease the everyday tasks of housing officers from initial review, through assessment, personal housing planning and securing   accommodation or closing cases. Applicants can apply and manage their application online.

Home Connections’ national mobility scheme, Homefinder UK can also be supplied as part of the system to offer actual housing options for applicants wanting to move across borough boundaries.

Steve Nash, housing services manager at Oadby & Wigston Borough Council and CIH Member said:  “We are really excited to be working with Home Connections to deliver HOPE. “It is important to us to be prepared in advance of April 2018 for the increased pressure that this new legislation will place on our workload. “The act will change the way we prevent and relieve homelessness and so, we need to change the way we work and that will not happen overnight. “HOPE will be ready to go live in September, allowing us plenty of time to prepare for successful implementation of the act in April 2018.”

http://www.24housing.co.uk/news/software-offers-hope-to-the-homeless/

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Home Connections has partnered with Call Credit Information Group to offer anti-fraud identification checks and tenancy fraud searches. Using an applicant’s name, date of birth and current address, the carefully tailored package will return a set of data that will flag up any suspicious activity at the very point of application.

Home Connections is a boutique housing solutions provider that specializes in delivering housing services and software to the public sector. Home Connections has a suite of prevention, assessment and homelessness recording tools and is behind the pioneering housing mobility scheme called Homefinder UK and the largest local authority lettings scheme in the UK – The Mayor of London’s Housing Moves scheme.

Home Connections has been at forefront of innovative housing software for 15 years and so it didn’t come as surprise when they decided to tackle social housing fraud by offering integration of tenancy checks at the point of application. Using their national mobility scheme to develop and test the fraud checking software into application form, they are now able to offer the latest innovation, which can be built into online application forms, CBL and other software, to local authorities and housing associations.

Batch testing of current housing register applicants or existing tenants with a more complex product to trace tenancy fraud is now also available.  Marina, Home Connections’s Project Manager says: “One Local Authority with a stock of 13,000 properties used the information from the service and recovered 30 properties in the first year, and 27 the following year.

Discuss and share your opinion on the new Identity Verification product at a free seminar on 19th of April 2017 at 12pm at Islington Council. Hear from Stephanie Toghill, Housing Investigations Manager at Camden Council, who will provide an update on Local Authority initiatives into tackling housing fraud.

Claim your free ticket for this seminar here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fraud-detection-why-prevention-is-better-than-cure-tickets-32654246731

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Presentations from our annual conference, Vision : 2020 are now available to download:

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Our recent Think Housing Research Report was unveiled last week to delegates at our annual conference where the three main political parties told us of their vision for housing in 2020.

The full research report offers new insight on issues around the housing crisis, Right to Move, the private rental sector, the quality of housing stock, the price of rent, and housing benefits.

The paper is now available for all to view by clicking here.

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CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Ben Harris-Quinney (Chairman, The Bow Group), Lord Tope CBE (Liberal Democrats), Karen Buck MP (Labour), Alan Benson (Senior Manager – Housing Strategy, GLA), David Montague CBE (Chief Executive, L&Q), Steve Douglas (Partner, Altair), Dr Tim Brown (Senior Research Associate, De Montford University), Helen Cope (Housing Consultant), Terry Stacy MBE (Resident Board Member, Circle 33), Patrick Odling-Smee (Housing Consultant, RedQuadrant), Byron Vincent (Poet)

Our annual conference has been confirmed for Thursday 16th October at the Royal Over-Seas League. The theme for the conference is ‘Vision 2020‘, and asks the question Where will the housing sector be at the end of the next term of Parliament?

The programme for the day is below and more details van be found at our event homepage.

The Connected Housing Conference: Vision 2020
Thursday 16th October 2014
Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR

09:30: Registration Coffee/Tea/Biscuits 

10:00 – 10:05: Welcome

10:05 – 11:05: The Politicos

During the first session politicians and policy experts from the main political parties will explain their vision for the housing market and social housing in 2020 (the end of the next parliamentary term). 

11:05 – 11:25: Refreshments

11:05 – 12:25:The Experts

Expert practitioners, academics and housing leaders debate the points raised by the politicians and give their opinion on what needs to happen.

12:25 – 13:30: Lunch

13:30 - 14:45: Workshops

The afternoon will start with breakout sessions covering best practice.

WORKSHOP: Best Practice for Housing – Scotland does it better for Homelessness, the Right to Buy and Funding Models. Speakers from Scotland and England & Wales debate different approaches.

WORKSHOP: The north-south debate: the private rented sector – what works and what doesn’t? Speakers from across the great divide.

WORKSHOP: The economics of social housing

A panel discussion will follow the workshops.

14:45 – 15:00: Refreshments

15:00 – 16:00: The Home Connections Leaders Debate  

16:00 – 17:00: The Reception – drinks and networking  

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