Shelter: Evaluation of Hackney Family Service

Shelter’s Hackney Family Service supports families who are at risk of homelessness while dealing with other issues.

Shelter offers free, expert housing advice on a range of housing topics, including community advice surgeries, which provide tailored advice on housing and welfare benefits for families. Shelter Hackney also work with specialist services to tackle recurring causes of homelessness – such as mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour and family breakdown.

The Hackney Family Service brings together the strengths of existing and developing partnerships, drawing on expertise and support from services in the community and the sector, securing contractual partnerships with local specialist services to provide a ‘supply chain’ of interventions for Shelter clients.

Shelter’s nationwide strategy focuses on supporting families – who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or are badly housed – as a way of reaching more people and effecting long term, generational change. As such, the Hackney Family Servicefocuses on families rather than individuals; homelessness (or the lack of a permanent home) can have particular negative impacts for families and children. These negative impacts can include the loss of friends and extended family networks and frequent changes of schools or child care arrangements, leading to a lack of stability. This in turn may affect children’s learning and development, health, and wellbeing.

In 2015, Shelter commissioned NEF Consulting to evaluate the Hackney Family Service. The aims of the research were to:

  • Understand its effectiveness as a means of working with families to tackle the direct and indirect causes of homelessness, therefore helping families to keep or access safe, secure, stable accommodation.
  • Provide evidence and information to understand the appropriateness of the design of Hackney Family Service, with its multi-partner delivery mechanisms, and using safe, secure housing as a platform, to improve family outcomes.
  • Illustrate and quantify the potential cost savings to “the system”, as a result of its activities.

You can read the report and its findings here.