A key driver of this project’s success will be the broad range of organisations and individuals coming together as a network with the common goal of seeking solutions for better outcomes for people living in TA in London.
In true TAAG spirit, we launched this project by bringing together representatives from four of our partner organisations and started with a conversation about what we see the project looking like on a network level, as well as thinking about what the key issues around TA are from each of their perspectives.
In the room with us were Magpie Project (Newham), Cardinal Hume Centre (Westminster), Shelter, (representing Waltham Forest and Hackney) and Notting Hill Genesis (cross borough partner).
When we discussed the issues around TA, the first thing to come out of the conversation was Out of Borough placements. We hear concerns about these types of placements frequently in our research and through the Households in Temporary Accommodation APPG. Many of the issues that we heard about in this discussion were unique to London and confirmed our conviction about the timeliness of launching a London TAAG network, able to share information and work across boroughs.
Other issues that came out of the discussion were childhood development in TA, pathways through TA (particularly for residents who have No Recourse to Public Funds), safeguarding issues, mental health, disempowerment and entrenchment in the system for residents, and the need to make sure resident and lived experience involvement is an enabling and empowering experience rather than an extractive one.
We then discussed the nuts and bolts of the project, including a really interesting information gathering discussion about how we'll structure and implement the payment policy for our TAAG members with lived experience, something that all the groups in the room had perspectives on and experience with. The contribution of people with lived experience of TA is pivotal to the success of a TAAG and it is vital that their input is recognised and reimbursed fairly.
We came away with a mountain of post-it notes, and a real sense of excitement: the atmosphere in the room was electric, charged with the will to bring about positive change and to collaborate and learn from one another over the next 3 years.
This group also forms the basis of the steering group. As the project develops the steering group will be joined by representatives from Tower Hamlets and Haringey, as well our Lived Experience Researcher, people who are or have been living in temporary accommodation, and will have the opportunity to share outcomes, concerns and ideas with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Households in Temporary Accommodation.