Homelessness charity chief stepping down
The boss of the UK’s homelessness umbrella organisation has stepped down from her role after more than seven years in charge.
Homeless Link said that chief executive Jenny Edwards had resigned from the charity ‘to pursue new opportunities and challenges’.
Ms Edwards joined the body in 2004 and, at the helm, has played a central role in protecting funding for homelessness services in the coalition’s emergency budget last year. She is understood to be leaving by mutual consent.
Matt Harrison, currently director of business and enterprise, will act as interim chief executive of Homeless Link while a new chief executive is recruited.
Ann Skinner, chair of Homeless Link said: ‘The Board of Homeless Link wishes to thank Jenny for her tireless work as chief executive. She has been a key campaigner and influencer of government on behalf of member organisations and those who are homeless or rough sleeping.
‘During Jenny’s time as chief executive the organisation has doubled in staffing. Its core income has grown to £3 million and it has been charged with distributing £8 million of grant funding for the Homelessness Transition Fund in 2011/12.
‘Its membership has grown dramatically and it now represents over 500 agencies that work with homeless people, providing a range of services to help them work in this challenging area and advocating for policy change to help this work. In 2010, this culminated in the publication of the influential ‘Ending Homelessness Together’ and in the organisation obtaining a commitment from government to end rough sleeping and to commit appropriate resources to do so.
‘Jenny took the organisation through a successful merger with Resource Information Services in 2009 and established a social enterprise arm - investing in new profitable information products. The most recent milestone for the organisation during Jenny’s tenure as chief executive was the allocation of £20million over 3 years for the Homelessness Transition Fund awarded through Homeless Link.
‘Jenny was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2011 as recognition of her work in the field of homelessness and disadvantage. She leaves with the best wishes of Homeless Link and the grateful thanks of the Board for her leadership and efforts throughout her period with us.’
Her departure comes as the government published the latest homelessness figures yesterday and charity Crisis forecast a ‘sustained increase’ in the number of people being accepted as homeless. As the figures were published it launched a campaign to change a law which allows councils to turn away single homeless people, so that they get the help they need to access good housing.
Currently, single homeless people are unlikely to be judged to be in priority need, unless they are deemed particularly vulnerable.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy at Crisis, said: ‘We’re asking for a change to the Homelessness Act so there’s a new duty to single, homeless people that councils would have to follow.’