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 our 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 hosts an annual national conference, uniting stakeholders from housing associations, local government and charities to discuss and debate homelessness challenges, share solutions and galvanise action.
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 pushed for the Regulator of Social Housing to recognise prospective tenants who are homeless in its definition of 'consumers' within the new consumer standards to be introduced following the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, and for the Regulator to signal to register providers the actions they should take to implement the homelessness related provision outlined in the consumer standards.
As a Homes for Cathy member, Hightown uses the Homes for Cathy commitments as a framework for reporting and planning homelessness provision and policy within our organisation and to benchmark our progress. You can read the full details of our Homes for Cathy work in our 2022/23 Homes for Cathy report.
It’s clear that the housing sector can and should do more to alleviate the escalating homelessness crisis, whether that’s building more homes, developing supported housing solutions that meet local need or working to ensure tenants sustain successful tenancies and avoid repeat homelessness. As housing associations continue to juggle the competing demands of a challenging operating environment, Homes for Cathy challenges us to think outside the box, learn from each other, innovate and ultimately keep a focus on our social purpose of ending homelessness.David Bogle, Hightown CEO and chair of Homes for Cathy