Credit: James Daniel

Oak Foundation and Trust for London Temporary Accommodation Initiative

The Oak Foundation and Trust for London are developing plans for a strategic initiative to strengthen advocacy by with and for people with experience of Temporary Accommodation (TA), and ultimately to make better use of TA.

Background

The Housing and Homelessness Programme (HHP) at Oak has been concerned for some time about the appalling conditions and the increasing use of temporary accommodation.

To learn more about the issues, Oak in close partnership with Trust for London, jointly commissioned research in early 2021, to listen to grassroots organisations involved in providing or supporting people in TA, as well as those with lived experience.

One of the key findings of the scoping research was that advocacy and support are intertwined. Organisations wishing to advocate around TA must be able to support those with experience of it, to enable them to address their circumstances and claim their rights. The research also identified value in connecting organisations working on the front-line with each other and with specialist support. It also noted that not all organisations supporting people in TA are constituted or wish to have paid staff.

We learned that a broad definition of TA is most inclusive of the variety of experiences of people into, through, out of, and sometimes back into TA. We also know that the TA problem is biggest for, although not at all unique to, Londoners.

Better temporary accommodation for Londoners

Taking on board feedback from this listening exercise and research, Oak is working with Trust for London to develop a three-year, £1.5m programme of funding and other support for organisations working to support and advocate for and with Londoners with experience of TA. Initial thinking is that the main goals of this is to build organisations’ capacity, strengthen access to support, and to strengthen advocacy by, for and with Londoners with experience of TA.

It is hoped that the initiative will include:

  • A call for applications for grant funding, aimed at support and advocacy organisations and those offering legal advice;
  • A small fund for ‘micro-grants’ of a few hundred pounds, open to unconstituted organisations;
  • Network coordination including connections to advocacy opportunities and access to consultancy or training (e.g. working with a journalist to train people with experience of TA to talk to the media, or a graphic artist to help tell peoples' story).

Trust for London anticipates making potentially up to 10 grants and up to 30 micro-grants in the first phase. We will also work with the sector to integrate the views of organisations working on the frontline and people with experience of TA into the design and delivery of the initiative.

The Trust is particularly keen to work with front-line, smaller, BAME- and user-led organisations with this strand of work and will be continuing dialogue with the sector between now and Spring 2022 to make sure the initiative meets need and is as accessible as possible.

We anticipate Oak Trustees will make a decision as to whether to fund the Oak contribution to this grant programme around February 2022, after which Trust for London will publish an update and funding guidelines, in the hope of making the first awards in May/June 2022 for 2022-25.

National Advocacy Project

Closely linked to this developing small grants programme with Trust for London, Oak is looking to potentially make another grant, to support advocacy work through an ambitious investment, linked to reducing the use of and/or improving TA.

The details of this advocacy project are still being developed in consultation with partner organisations, but the initial thinking is that this work will focus on campaigning across England over a five year period and involve establishing an advocacy coalition or campaign, building on the current work by the sector, which is shaped by the voices of people with lived experience.

To find out more

Organisations and potential partners who wish to find out more are invited to contact:

For a discussion and/or to be included in the list of organisations who will be updated about the London initiative:

Susie Dye, Grants Manager at Trust for London - susie@trustforlondon.org.uk

To discuss the developing advocacy part of the project (though this will link to those involved in the small grants programme focused on the TA sector in London):

Paul Wishart, Programme Officer, Housing and Homelessness Programme (HHP), Oak Foundation – paul.wishart@oakfnd.org

Oak and Trust for London will aim to provide a further update in February 2022.

Last updated: December 2021