Hightown is a founding member of Homes for Cathy, a group of housing associations and homelessness charities united by an aim to end homelessness. Hightown plays a key role in the group's day-to-day running and its CEO David Bogle sits on the Homes for Cathy board.
Formed in 2016, the group has grown to 116 members, which together own and manage over 1.34 million homes. Homes for Cathy members sign up to nine homelessness commitments, developed with the homelessness charity Crisis, which guide and benchmark best practice within their organisations.
Members meet for workshops to share knowledge around meeting the commitments, tackling a range of subjects including reducing evictions, maintaining flexible allocations and eligibility policies, offering furnished tenancies to people experiencing homelessness and working in partnership to deliver initiatives such as Housing First.
Homes for Cathy also facilitates regional events, hosted by members, to galvanise action at local level, uniting stakeholders from housing associations, local government and charities to address local challenges and solutions to ending homelessness.
Alongside events, knowledge is shared through the Homes for Cathy online news hub and quarterly newsletters.
As part of its lobbying activity, Homes for Cathy has recently been pushing for homeless people to be recognised as housing association consumers/stakeholders under proposals emerging from the Social Housing White paper, particularly with regard to the changing role of the Regulator of Social Housing.
Despite the work of housing associations over the past 50 years, the problem of homelessness has not gone away. There is simply not enough affordable housing around to meet housing needs. The number of people being made homeless is increasing nationally, with 98,300 households living in temporary accommodation at the last count.David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown