Long-standing housing professional and homelessness campaigner Jacqui McCluskey has died after a period of illness.
Ms McCluskey, who had most recently been director of policy and communications at Homeless Link, passed away suddenly on Tuesday morning, the charity said.
After qualifying in social work in Glasgow in the 1980s, Ms McCluskey worked as a social worker and an advisor on projects in Australia and Scotland.
She moved to London in the early 1990s and worked in the homelessness sector at North Lambeth Day Centre, setting up a resettlement scheme for rough sleepers living in the Bullring roundabout in Waterloo, and then carrying out research for CHAR, a predecessor of Homeless Link.
After that, she moved into the children’s sector, spending 10 years working in the policy team at what is now called Action for Children and then three years leading the policy and research team at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
Ms McCluskey joined Homeless Link as director of policy and communications in September 2009, leading on policy, research, campaigning and communications activity over the past 10 years.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “It is with great sadness and regret that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague Jacqui McCluskey. Since joining Homeless Link in 2009 Jacqui has been a staunch advocate for ending homelessness and has inspired countless others to do the same.
“She worked tirelessly to ensure that successive governments prioritised homelessness in all its forms and was instrumental in developing cross-sector collaboration in policy influencing and campaigning.
“More than anything Jacqui will be remembered as a supportive colleague, a font of knowledge on policy issues and an inspiration to anyone wanting to take positive action to end homelessness. She will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of meeting her.”
Others across the housing sector expressed their sadness at Ms McCluskey’s death.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, wrote on Twitter: “Very sad indeed to hear of the death of Jacqui McCluskey, a real loss to the fight for social justice and against homelessness: a passionate, talented, principled, kind and generous woman.”
Meanwhile, the Frontline Network, which supports frontline workers in the homelessness sector, tweeted: “We are incredibly sorry to learn of the passing of Jacqui McCluskey – a truly inspirational woman within the sector. We would like to send our love and condolences at this very difficult time.”