What is the National Advisory Panel (NAP)?
The NAP is a regular forum, set-up in April 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way of ensuring that national Government heard the impact of pandemic from those with direct experience of disadvantage.
Membership is from across England. All members have lived experience of disadvantage and are passionate about giving people a voice in key decisions made about their lives.
Influence the system (e.g. national and local government, charities and voluntary sector) to adopt a trauma-informed and holistic approach to working alongside people experiencing homelessness
Support, promote and inspire co-production in national and local policy decision making around homelessness
We have an opportunity to end homelessness for good. If we do not get right, we may be able to house people in the short term, but it will not be sustainable. To make sure it’s sustainable, we need to ensure that people have access not just to a house, but to a home. So we are calling for three things:
1. Give People a Voice
- For far too long decisions have been made without the views of individuals
- [Although many services/local authorities will state they are involving service users, in reality they are just ticking boxes.]
- People’s views to their home must be central.
- Peoples views (wishes) must be respected, heard and acknowledged.
- People need to be empowered to have an active role (be equal partners?) in the decisions made around their own lives.
- Improving self-esteem and confidence.
2. Give People a Choice
- There are many choices. Choices about location, tenure and type. Choices about engagement with support.
- But people have these choices taken away from them. (Or given choice between rough sleeping and an unsuitable offer.) Without choice people are disempowered.
- People need transparent, realistic, suitable choices, with no conditions on housing.
“Something that’s safe near people you know”
- This may need revising priority need and local connection policies, being treated lawfully with equal access to (social) housing, realistic plans.
3. Realise Peoples Aspirations.
- People have been de-humanised. People have been labelled.
- But we are humans with skills, assets and aspirations.
- We need to look at the talents and aspirations we have.
Expert Link stands with other charities in their call to reverse the decision to cut Universal Credit and to freeze Local Housing Allowance. Without action, many people, in particular families, could fast become homeless.