Detail of the Homelessness Trailblazer project 2017 to 2020

Trailblazer projects

As well as advising people and partner agencies about individual cases, helping prevent homelessness, the Trailblazer team ran various projects to help increase understanding and seek new ways to solve problems and work together better. Some examples were:

Public agencies committing to work together

A number of organisations in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are changing the way they tackle homelessness and have developed a new memorandum of understanding which sets out how they agree to prevent homelessness, because homelessness is unacceptable and affects local ambitions – for example our ambitions to create healthy and safe communities and to encourage economic growth.

Building partnerships

A statement of intent has also been developed, based on the memorandum, which non-statutory partners can sign up to, to show their commitment to making homelessness the unacceptable outcome. Trailblazer partners included

  • The Housing Board coving Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & West Suffolk
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Services Board
  • Cambridgeshire County Council teams including Adult Drug Treatment and Criminal Justice, Children, Adults and Families, Adult Social Care, Chronically Excluded Adults, Drug and Alcohol Team and Mental Health Commissioning.
  • Public Health
  • Together for Families
  • Cambridgeshire Insight partnership
  • CHS Group including Building Better Opportunities and Making Money Count
  • Department of Work & Pensions
  • Police & Crime Commissioner
  • Police Integrated Offender Management
  • Probation
  • Local Registered Social Landlords
  • District housing authorities: Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Links with criminal justice

Housing and criminal justice partners are working together, with support from the Police and Crime Commissioner, to agree how best to work together. A workshop was held in 2018 which resulted in this report in May 2018. Further work led partners to update the protocol (initiated in January 2017) with accompanying slides. The protocol is now being embedded and promoted with partners across the criminal justice system.

Motivational training

The team has embarked on a creative development initiative to have a positive and lasting impact in reducing homelessness. The aim is to reach all practitioners across district and county councils who have conversations with clients at risk of homelessness. Positive and early engagement with these individuals increases the likelihood of raising awareness and personal responsibility – as well as willingness to access support. To do this, the team is introducing a motivational skills approach to making sensitive or difficult conversations as constructive and productive as possible. You can find out more by looking at our training-poster-july-sept-2019.

Working to reduce debts

Debt advice and resolving arrears are key to homelessness prevention. We will help by support the Making Money Count (MMC) web resource, which will help publicise our project. Making Money Count already provides employment links, a directory of services and links with the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme. Building Better Opportunities helps people back into work.

Sharing information about who does what

Cambridgeshire’s care and support directory and our Guide to Housing help partners understand what we all do, why, and who for.


Working together to tackle hoarding issues, leading to the set-up of a Hoarding Forum and protocol. You can find out more about our hoarding work on this page.

Release from hospital

Working with hospitals to help patients who are difficult to release from hospital due to homelessness or housing issues.

Here is a link to the hospital admission and discharge protocol where someone is homeless, for Cambridge University Hospitals (2019).

Mental health, drugs and alcohol

Working with partners to tackle homelessness linked to mental health and substance misuse – you can find details about out “improving pathways” event below.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, despite the Covid pandemic, we have continued to work with partners to draft a protocol based on Surrey’s excellent protocol which you can find here.

We aim to have the protocol finished by the end of 2021, if you wish to contribute to the draft please get in touch with

Event: Improving Pathways

In June 2019, a workshop looking at Improving Pathways into housing for people using Mental Health Services and Drug and Alcohol Support services was organized.

This page provides a place for

  • materials used at the workshop
  • the write-up of the day
  • the resulting action plan, and
  • what results come from the action plan.

The aim of this page is to help people who attended, or couldn’t make it, to keep up with what was said and what is being done as a result.

Materials used on the day


  • Write up of the day here