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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Groundswell Homeless Link link

May 18 2009
Homeless Link‘s director of policy, practice and campaigns is also chair of Groundswell‘s board of trustees. Many readers will know Groundswell as the organisers of Speak Outs, and some will know Homeless Link as an umbrella organisation for homeless service providers. Many will be surprised by a link between the two, but, as was pointed out to us, it seems that Dominic Williamson, interviewed by The Pavement in the last issue as Homeless Link's Director of Policy, Practice and Campaigns, is also chair of Groundswell's board of trustees. His dual position as the director of policy, practice and campaigns of an organisation for homeless service providers (Homeless Link) and as chair of the board of an organisation for homeless service users (Groundswell), may give rise to concern of a conflict of interests. However, Williamson told The Pavement: "While the work of the two organisations is different, I would argue that we share an agenda, which is ending homelessness through empowering homeless people and improving the help they get to avoid or escape homelessness." Groundswell aims to create "a network of groups of homeless people who were engaged in self-help solutions to homelessness." By hosting a multitude of networking events, they try to encourage the homeless community to come up with solutions to their problems. The organisation's Grant Award Scheme even gives cash rewards to people who set up their own projects. Homeless Link is "the national membership organisation for frontline homelessness agencies in England." They state their mission as "to be a catalyst that will help to bring an end to homelessness." They may have similar aims, but they have very different membership and methods. Williamson explained his presence on the board of one and among the staff of another, saying: "Someone from the National Homeless Alliance, then Homeless Link, has always been on the board as a way of supporting Groundswell's work. When I joined Homeless Link, my predecessor was on the board, and I joined to replace her." "I had worked at National Homeless Alliance when Groundswell was started and continue to be committed to their work of empowering homeless people. Last November, I became chair of the board. We are currently seeking to recruit new board members and eventually I hope to stand down as chair and let someone else take over." We'll report when new members are elected, and when this situation changes.
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