Recently I took part in a focus group around rough sleeping verification.

The findings have been published and I’ll pop it at the end of this for those who want to read it. It was a fascinating discussion, and also a surprising one. I was aware that I was there because of my lived experience of rough sleeping, but I wasn’t aware that there was only 2 other people with lived experience of rough sleeping there too

I think this is what makes the findings quite interesting – 52% of the group believed verification to be a positive thing, where 48% believed it to be negative. Though many said they would have ticked both boxes.

It’s my impression from a lot of my peers who have had similar experiences to me, feel that verification does very little to help the people who are rough sleeping.

I can’t help but wonder how different those statistics would be if there were more people in the room who had experience of verification and rough sleeping.

What I also didn’t expect however, was for many professionals to feel similar to me – to feel frustrated by the verification process, to wish it didn’t exist, and this was from professionals who were ‘high up’ in the sector as well as ‘front line’ workers. An overall theme that came out from most people in the room was around trust – which I think says a lot.

I felt like I was perhaps one of a few, who was also seeing this from a Homelessness Application/Low Threshold/Housing Law point of view, however I’m so pleased to see this was mentioned in the report, going as far as to say ‘Those working with people sleeping rough should understand the law and duties of local authorities to accommodate so they are able to advocate for access, regardless of whether the individual has been verified.’

Unsurprisingly a strong theme that came from those of us with lived experience was around Humanity and Co-Production.

I adore co production – I think every sector, every organisation should have people with lived experience involved in decision making and have their input truly listened too at every level.

It seems like an untapped source of genius if you ask me – and I am so privileged and grateful that I get to use my lived experiences as useful input into so many pieces of influential and important work.

Report can be found here:…/rough-sleeping-verification/

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– Shannon