Creating a Homelessness Network (London Borough of Enfield)

Bringing together local homelessness organisations to improve outcomes for residents

At a glance

Housing Advisers Programme case study

2019/20 cohort

What went in

Priority area addressed: Homelessness and temporary accommodation.  

Budget: £25,000 

Other resources needed: Advice from frontline specialists and third sector organisations   

Time taken to achieve outcomes: 12 months 

What came out

Deliverables: Activities across Council and third sector services have been coordinated to ensure that all new services delivered have the best possible outcomes for residents. An overarching outcomes-based framework was created, to evaluate the success of existing and future funding available for Enfield based community groups.  

Difference made: Local residents now receive better quality housing and money management advice from local community organisations and are confident to seek help earlier to prevent homelessness. Voluntary sector groups are delivering more projects as result of successfully applying for more grants. Community organisers with lived experience have greater input on the local decision-making process.  

Example: NL Credit Union were successful in applying for funding from Mercer's/the Whittington Charity to create a tenancy sustainment project that will allow a larger number of Enfield residents to borrow the capital for a deposit.  

“The Network has been great in facilitating funding. It should continue to deliver one to one support from Development and Funding Officer while the network must just keep delivering more of the same: resource updates, specialist network meetings.”

L Worrall Drug and Alcohol Café Enfield.  


Executive summary

Through forming a network of organisations who have all invested an interest in preventing renewed levels of homelessness, this project created a space where advocates can be an active part of the solution to homelessness. The network delivers a range of services and resources that directly aim to build the capacity of third sector homeless prevention in Enfield. 

Challenge and context

"Enfield a Borough with inner London problems and outer London funding."  

The London Borough of Enfield currently has the second highest use of temporary accommodation in the country. Annually over 7000 households approach the Council for housing support and help each year. With a low amount of social housing stock, the average length of stay in temporary accommodation is 2 ½ years. Emergency accommodation sustainment, in turn, costs the Council £7 million per year. To address this housing-based crisis, public and third sector bodies need to work together cohesively. Through providing resources that develop new services and building connections with existing service providers, this project helped prevent further levels of homelessness and long-term use of temporary accommodation. 

What we did

Responding to the challenge of being disconnected from third sector ventures and unable to support their work, Enfield Council partnered with Enfield Voluntary Action to fund a staff member to work as a Housing Adviser.  

Through attending Housing Partnership board meetings, a strategy was designed to create a Network which would build capacity in the voluntary sector and encourage groups to create projects that respond to local needs. The beneficiaries from the strategy were threefold: 

  • Organisations that are already preventing homelessness without necessarily self-identifying as doing this work. 

  • Organisations that work on initiatives relating to the causes and symptoms of homelessness. 

  • Vulnerable residents who require assistance in gaining or maintaining habitable housing options. 

The range of activities, events, and information sharing carried out included: 

  • 40+ “Resource Round Up” emails to Network members chartering homeless prevention funding streams, research papers, free events for third sector specialists, partnership opportunities and local government strategy updates. 

  • 6 Homeless Prevention Network meetings hosting a variety of keynote speakers and functional workshops to facilitate successful funding applications that directly seek to alleviate the levels and impact of homelessness. The online meetings have provided a dynamic space for discussion among community advocates. Keynote speakers included the North London Service Manager for Shelter, the Director of London Catalyst grant, the Enfield Director of Public Health and St Martin in the Fields Head of Partnerships.  

  • Free training sessions on subjects to up-skill organizations e.g. Digital skills for small charities working remotely and one to one advice with EVA’s Development Funding worker and Community Accountant.  

The difference we made

A key measure of success for this project was the additional funding accessed by Network members as a result of the project. This included: 

  • Skills and Training Network receiving £10,000 from Awards for All to run information and advice services, counselling and training. They gained an additional £10,000 from the Rosa Fund to provide supportive services for Women facing domestic abuse.  

  • Hope and Restoration received £5000 from Covid response fund to initiate employment, benefit and welfare support services.  

  • Overall this project has helped local community groups to gain a total of £166,590 in additional funding. The services provided that make up this figure of funding include; debt advice, a homeless resource centre, advocacy work, gambling addiction help etc. This sum illustrates the variety of projects enabled and the value added to local services.  

In additional community advocates report that they feel more confident engaging in joint working and idea sharing through the Network. We also experience that residents communicate better about housing issues due to being better represented in the decision-making process. 

What's next?

With community organisations now viewing themselves as part of the wider solution to homelessness and relevant projects being delivered, EVA hopes to continue building the capacity of community organisations in Enfield. 

Lessons learned

Feedback from members has suggested that using a base of change model will enhance actively looking for opportunities to work with other groups to create systemic change among local communities.  


Bonnie Rowe, Housing Advisor, Enfield Voluntary Action