[Skip to Content]
How we amplify insights from frontline workers

How we amplify insights from frontline workers

How we amplify insights from frontline workers

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Listening to lived and frontline experience is crucial to addressing homelessness. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic and face growing challenges such as the cost of living crisis, it is important that these insights into how to prevent and relieve homelessness are heard and help shape future policy and practice.

Every year at the Frontline Network we conduct a survey of staff across the UK, to gather views and experiences. In total 826 frontline workers from across the four nations responded to our latest survey in November-December 2021.

The survey explored the practical and systemic barriers to tackling homelessness, as well as best practice to ensure that suitable, secure, affordable housing is available to all. We asked 47 questions, ranging from how easy or difficult frontline staff find supporting people with things like accessing accommodation, health services and benefits; to their experiences of working in this sector and what can be done to support their professional development and wellbeing. 

We will be publishing a full report with key findings from the 2021 Frontline Worker Survey shortly. Ahead of this, we wanted to share how we've already been using survey evidence to inform our work and responses to homelessness.

We presented early findings from the survey in a blog on our website, at the plenary of our Annual Conference and through meetings with partners in the sector, to highlight pressing concerns such as the increasing need and the impact of the cost of living crisis on homelessness. 

We also shared survey findings in response to government consultations and calls for evidence, including: 

  1. Prevention of Homelessness Duties - a joint Scottish Government and COSLA consultation (submitted in collaboration with the Scottish Frontline Network). 
  2. Review of the Vagrancy Act consultation on effective replacement - by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Home Office and Ministry of Justice, relevant to England and Wales.
  3. Consultation on Supporting People Three Year Draft Strategic Plan - by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (submitted in collaboration with Frontline Network Northern Ireland).
  4. APPG for Ending Homelessness inquiry into progress towards Government rough sleeping target.
  5. APPG for Households in Temporary Accommodation - call for evidence.

Additionally, survey results directly informed the design of our 2022 Frontline Network Conference earlier this summer, with training sessions responding to key themes raised in the survey. For example: 

  • Access to accommodation - you shared that access to safe and suitable accommodation remains a fundamental issue when trying to address homelessness. The most difficulties were faced when trying to access specialist accommodation, followed by private rented accommodation and social housing. You expressed particular concern looking forward given the rising cost of living, and we hosted a session with colleagues at Turn2Us, Child Poverty Action Group and Citizens Advice Coventry to discuss this pressing issue.
  • Support services - you highlighted that accessing wider support for people you worked with was also challenging, particularly in relation to mental health and where people might benefit from high levels of support. Common barriers were long waiting lists, digital exclusion and difficulties providing necessary documentation. We discussed some of these themes in a session investigating access to substance use and mental health support with MEAM.
  • Your own wellbeing - you also shared that high caseloads and a lack of time to do your job effectively impacted your wellbeing and your ability to support others. Job security and ensuring you felt valued by your employer were identified as areas for improvement. All of our afternoon sessions looked to support different aspects of your wellbeing, from exploring tools for time management to discussing how to embed reflective practice approaches.

You can browse all the sessions and resources from our 2022 Frontline Network Conference here.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their knowledge and experiences by responding to our Annual Survey. Whilst there is brilliant work taking place across the UK, there is clearly wider change needed to address homelessness. Your insights as frontline staff will be crucial in informing the next steps.

Stay tuned - we'll be publishing a full report summarising findings from the survey shortly. To receive updates, sign up to our e-newsletter here.

News and Views

  • Brain Injury Guidance

    Brain Injury Guidance

    Leigh Andrews of Change Communication offered specialist advice on brain injuries and homelessness through a digital...
  • End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty have recently spoken with the Frontline Network to discuss their important ongoing survey, seek...
  • Cover the Cost Campaign

    Cover the Cost Campaign

    Jasmine Basran, Senior Policy Officer at Crisis, talks to us about the Cover the Cost Campaign, asking the Government...
  • VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    Over the past year we have given out 3827 grants totaling £1,156,805 through the VRF. Read the latest Impact Report t...
  • Influence from the Frontline

    Influence from the Frontline

    Frontline workers are crucial at giving insight into the viewpoints of the people they work with as well as the chall...
  • The Vagrancy Act

    The Vagrancy Act

    Crisis, along with others including Homeless Link, Cymorth Cymru, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s, Shelter Cymru and the Wall...
  • Influencing local decisions

    Influencing local decisions

    Zoe, Frontline Network Coordinator at Coventry Citizens Advice, talks to us about the Coventry Frontline Network and...
  • The Litigant in Person Network

    The Litigant in Person Network

    Martha de la Roche, Network Development Manager at Litigant in Person Network (LiP Network), tells us about The LiP N...
  • VRF Impact Report

    VRF Impact Report

    Find out what impact VRF had last year and how to get involved in shaping its direction in the coming year.
  • Housing First Scotland

    Housing First Scotland

    Please see here for the first issue of Housing First Connect - a twice-yearly newsletter for Scotland’s new Housing F...
  • Slaying the Dragon

    Slaying the Dragon

    Will Golding, Edinburgh Tutor at Crisis, talks to us about 'Slaying the Dragon'.
  • CPAG - Early Warning System

    CPAG - Early Warning System

    Dan Norris, from CPAG, talks to us about a new Early Warning System to record the impact of benefit changes implement...
  • The Hostile Environment

    The Hostile Environment

    Bethan Lant, a Project lead from Praxis, writes about the creation of a hostile environment for migrants and refugees.
  • Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Sinead Kelleher writes about Wrexham's Crisis Cafe, a multi-agency response to Universal Credit.
  • Frontline Worker Survey

    Frontline Worker Survey

    We are asking frontline workers to participate in a survey, aimed at those working with clients who are experiencing...
  • A map through conflict

    A map through conflict

    A Cyrenians Mediator writes about their innovative Amber Mediation and Support Project, a model of mediation and supp...
  •  “A place to call home"

    “A place to call home"

    Hannah Gousy was seconded from Crisis to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to help design policy recommendations to...
  • A London Nightshelter

    A London Nightshelter

    On 7 November we opened our church-based shelters for the winter with more churches signed on then ever before. Glass...
  • 'Step Up' at The Connection

    'Step Up' at The Connection

    Wyn Newman introduces the volunteer programme 'Step Up' that has been developed at The Connection for service users.