There’s No Place Like Home – Unless You’re Homeless – by Susan Dolan

According to Dan McDonald, ‘there’s no place like home’ and most of us would agree unless you’re homeless, of course. That was the name of his keynote speech in Kansas City highlighting the issues around homelessness and what we can do to end it.

McDonald delivered his speech at the annual National Sheriff’s Association 2022 conference. It was designed to raise awareness of how the police deal with homelessness and people who live on the streets. It also highlighted the fact that jails are becoming the largest homeless shelters in many communities and the cost implications of this for the taxpayer.

McDonald called for better responses to the issue of homelessness and suggested ways in which the authorities and local communities could develop cost-effective, legal and compassionate approaches for dealing with the issue, such as the development of police homeless outreach teams.

homelessLet’s End Homelessness. Together

On the other side of the Atlantic on exactly the same day that Dan McDonald delivered his speech, another homelessness champion that The Peoples Hub works closely with, Amy Varle, was making her keynote speech in Manchester in the UK at Housing 2022, the award-winning annual conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Housing. 

This conference attracts thousands of attendees and is Europe’s largest housing event. This year it hosted 450+ speakers, one of which was Amy. 

Amy was at the conference to talk about the roll-out of Housing First and to promote her digital social platform, Socially Homes. As the founder and Creative Director of Socially Homes, Amy has created a platform where housing providers and support agencies can come together to work toward reducing the problem of homelessness. 

They run a calendar of digital events to give members the chance to meet, socialise and learn from each other. 

The motto of Socially Homes is ‘Let’s End Homelessness. Together’. The initiative was launched at Downing Street in September 2021, when Amy who lived in a homeless hostel herself at the age of 16, met with the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. 

The digital membership platform will be rolled out in the UK over the next two years and Amy predicts that, during this time, it will help tens of thousands of homeless people. She hopes that within the next 10 years it will reach 1 billion people across the world. 

Amy is no stranger to the issues of homelessness and rough sleepers in the US. In 2016, Amy met with leaders of two US homeless organizations in New York and San Francisco and based on her findings, published a white paper of policy recommendations on her return to the UK.

As part of the global rollout, Socially Homes is due to arrive on US shores soon and Amy is already in discussion to trial her social networking-for-social-good concept internationally. 


Susan Dolan

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