Keys to the Future projects

The first of Shelter's Keys to the Future projects were established in Spring 2007. These groundbreaking services have since reached more than 10,000 children, young people and their families.

As part of its Million Children Campaign launched in 2006, Shelter made a commitment to demonstrate new ways to prevent child homelessness and provide support to children who are already homeless, to reduce the devastating impact it can have on their lives.

Aims of the Keys to the Future projects

The aims of the Keys to the Future pilot programmes were to:

  • prevent homelessness for children, families and young people through education and helping them obtain and/or maintain a home
  • improve outcomes for children in homeless families through early intervention and the provision of a holistic, co-ordinated service with a focus on improving access to support for harder to reach and excluded communities
  • disseminate good practice and contribute to effective changes in policy and practice within mainstream agencies working with children and families
  • influence changes in policy and the law as it affects homeless children and families.

Approaches used by Keys to the Future projects

Shelter was able to test a range of different approaches to achieve these aims. Some of the approaches we chose were shaped by existing Shelter activities or partnership working, while others were developed in response to local opportunities to provide new services. All the interventions were designed to respond to local needs, geography and context. These included:

  • providing support to improve educational attainment for homeless children (one project in Newham and three in Scotland)
  • carrying out housing needs assessments (in Bristol and Knowsley)
  • delivering tailored packages of support for homeless children (in Bristol)
  • education on homelessness and support for young people through peer education (in Gloucestershire)
  • preventing families from becoming ‘intentionally homeless’ as a result of anti-social behaviour (in Knowsley).

Evaluation reports

The reports aim to provide an overview of our achievements against objectives and are based on qualitative research conducted with the Shelter staff team, parents, children and young people and other stakeholders:

PDF Icon Evaluation: Shelter Keys to the Future (PDF 1937 KB)

PDF Icon Executive Summary: Shelter Keys to the Future Evaluation (PDF 416 kb)

Seven interim reports were also published in March 2010:

PDF Icon Interim summary report of the programme (PDF 612 kb)

PDF Icon Interim report on policy, legal and advice work (PDF 613 kb)

PDF Icon Scotland service interim report (PDF 789 kb)

PDF Icon Bristol service interim report (PDF 667 kb)

PDF Icon Gloucestershire service interim report (PDF 957 kb)

PDF Icon Knowsley service interim report (PDF 711 kb)

PDF Icon Newham service interim report (PDF 696 kb)

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