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World Habitat Trustee, Jo Richardson, becomes the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) president today, while launching her presidential campaign – Homeful – supported by World Habitat.

The Homeful campaign – which will run throughout her time in office – seeks to build on the success of the response to homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring housing-led approaches to resolve and prevent homelessness.

Jo Richardson said: “I’m excited to be taking up the CIH presidential mantle today from Aileen Evans who has run a brilliant campaign highlighting mental health and wellbeing during her time in office.

“I’ve been a member of CIH for over 25 years. It’s an organisation that I’ve worked for, worked with, and learnt from during my housing career. I’m honoured to be able to serve the CIH membership in the role of president and I’m looking forward to bringing the Homeful campaign to life.

“Homeful is all about exploring housing-led approaches to resolving and preventing homelessness, not only street homelessness but all circumstances of precarious, unaffordable or unsustainable housing, particularly in the current context of growth in use of temporary accommodation.”

The Homeful campaign will include the UK’s largest co-produced action research project which will include people who have experienced homelessness, housing providers, homeless organisations, partner agencies, charities and housing residents across the country to collect data, analyse findings and share learning across all parts of the UK. This is a particularly timely piece of work and will provide an opportunity to reflect on what worked in the response to the pandemic and what needs to be done to ensure sustainable, affordable housing is available for those who need it.

To kick start the campaign, an initial report written by Jo with Patrick Duce, Programme Lead (Homelessness) at World Habitat, and CIH’s Yoric Irving-Clarke has launched today. The report explores some of the lessons learned during COVID-19, where we saw national and local government, organisations and individuals protect and support people experiencing homelessness through the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.

Patrick Duce said: “World Habitat is delighted to contribute to the launch of Homeful, and the incoming CIH president Jo Richardson’s co-produced action research project. This report provides a valuable starting place for the campaign, drawing in key learning from the COVID-19 pandemic response and sharing case studies from all across the UK.

“Collectively, we cannot attempt to end homelessness without working together towards permanent housing solutions, and we look forward to supporting this campaign.”

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “As housing professionals and organisations, we know that by collaborating across the sector we can do more to resolve and prevent homelessness throughout the UK.

“The Homeful campaign will be our opportunity to highlight good practice, share learning widely and embed some of the lessons we learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s our opportunity to work together to end homelessness for good.”

The Homeful campaign will run for the tenure of Jo’s presidency, from July 2021 to December 2022. Over the next 18 months, in addition to completing research, Jo will also be fundraising for her chosen presidential charity, End Youth Homelessness.

Nick Connolly, managing director of End Youth Homelessness, said: “End Youth Homelessness is all about practical impact; testing new ideas, sharing our learning, and scaling what works.

“Jo’s Homeful campaign chimes with this philosophy and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Jo and her team to help bring the specific needs of homeless young people into the wider debate about homeless services. We are also incredibly grateful that Jo has chosen to support End Youth Homelessness during her exciting fundraising plans.”

David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, said: “On behalf of everyone at World Habitat, I want to congratulate Jo on becoming CIH president, and wish her the very best in this important role.

“Jo’s commitment to good housing for the most vulnerable shines through in this report, and we look forward to helping her achieve its aims.”

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