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Matt Downie MBE

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Chief Executive , Crisis

Matt has worked at Crisis since 2014. In 2019 he was awarded an MBE for services to tackling homelessness and in 2022 became Chief Executive. Prior to Crisis Matt worked at Action for Children.

Blogs from this author

Today, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has presented an ambitious plan for ending homelessnes...


In recent weeks and months, we’ve learned that a number of Crisis clients have been caught up in the Government’s policy to detain rough sleepers from the European Economic Area (EEA) and send them back to their country of origin. It’s hard to imagine UK nationals ever being treated with such little respect for their wishes or wellbeing, and we’re urging the Government to suspend this policy immediately.


This year, homelessness has finally returned to the political agenda, and with 160,000 households...


The last few months have seen Housing First break through into the homelessness and political agenda in the UK. Crisis has enthusiastically promoted the potential contribution it can make because the evidence base for the outcomes it achieves is compelling.


In April last year, Crisis turned 50. While this milestone is usually an achievement for an organ...


It is time to repeal the Vagrancy Act, yes. But if the answer was ever about whether to criminalise people, then we have been asking the wrong question. If we can see our way past labelling, grouping, dismissing, damning, pointlessly prosecuting and fining people, perhaps we can start answering the right question. What help and support do people need to realise their potential, and how quickly can we get it to everyone that needs it?


This week saw the start of an exciting new piece of work to identify how we can improve homelessness prevention in Scotland so that as few people as possible ever become homeless.


As the dust settles on the general election, we can reflect on the fact that every political party made significant manifesto pledges to tackle homelessness. It seems the political class is now agreed that something must be done about the emergency of 170,000 people and households who are homeless.


The Prevention Review Group met yesterday, our third meeting since we started our work in November. As discussions have unfolded, some initial recommendations have emerged as to how we see homelessness prevention developing in Scotland.


Over the last few months, we have seen a phenomenal effort from national and local government and homelessness charities to help thousands of people sleeping on our streets, and in overcrowded accommodation, into emergency accommodation in the midst of this dangerous pandemic. Our work - both through our frontline services and with local homelessness organisations - has meant we have seen people who have never before accessed help to end their homelessness provided with a roof over their heads where they can safely self-isolate.


We are sometimes accused of wanting too much policy-change on homelessness. Civil servants especially, can find lists of principled demands exasperating when set against the realities and political limitations they face. Perhaps a good question to ask in the new year is whether there are policies, successes that can be built on?


Today (5 July) Crisis, in collaboration with the National Police Chiefs' Council publish a unique...


MPs are voting this week on Government plans to introduce photo ID requirements for voting in gen...


The new chair of the Ending Homelessness National Advisory Board for Wales offers his reflections on the challenges and opportunities ahead.


It is World Homelessness Day, which is a good excuse to step back and look at whether we can lear...