Michael Corbishley, Head of Housing Initiatives

Michael is part of Homeless Link's Transatlantic Exchange Programme. In the first in a series of blogs he talks about his upcoming trip to New York, and what he hopes to learn. 

London is facing a homelessness crisis. A lack of affordable housing, insecure tenancies and welfare cuts force increasing numbers of people on to the capital’s streets.

According to government figures, homelessness is now at its highest level for a decade and rough sleeping in London has more than doubled since 2010, with almost a thousand people sleeping rough in the capital on any one night.

This seems to follow a global trend, as homelessness continues to soar in capital cities across the world. 

For example, in recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Just last month, there were 61,936 homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. This doesn’t include those sleeping on the streets. 

That’s why I wanted to be a part of Homeless Link’s Transatlantic Exchange Programme. The programme is an exciting opportunity for frontline homelessness staff to spend a fortnight in the United States, exploring different practice topics and sharing this learning on their return. Each year five participants from across the UK complete funded placements and services here volunteer to host five people from the US.

I’ve been keen to apply since the programme’s inception in 2014 – but honestly, didn't think I had much to offer the program. Like lots of people, I can find it daunting to put myself out there but with help and reassurance from my colleagues at SHP, decided to apply. 

At the end of May, I’ll be traveling to New York to learn about a model of support called Critical Time Intervention, and I’ll be spending two weeks with the Centre for Urban Community Services.

During my time I will be attending training, visiting different projects, doing some outreach work but most importantly talking to the people at the heart of any support model – the clients and staff. These two weeks are going to be busy, going to be intense but definitely going to be amazing. 

So from one big city to another, bigger, city I go – to share learning and learn first-hand what frontline workers are doing on the ground across the world. You’ll be able to follow my adventures using #SHPinNYC over on Twitter and Facebook.

And if, like me, you sometimes pass up opportunities because of self doubt or uncertainty – then don’t. The worst thing that will happen is you will learn from the process, the best is that like me you'll end up doing something extraordinary.