Housing and homelessness network meeting

Housing unaffordability and insecurity – spotlight on Birmingham and the Black Country.


Lucy Robson, Programme Officer with the Housing and Homelessness Team at Oak Foundation
Lucy has over twenty years’ experience co-ordinating services in the field. Much of that time involved partnership working with charities and community-based organisations; designing and delivering learning and employment projects. 


Patrick Duce
, Programme Lead (Homelessness) at World Habitat
Patrick Duce is Programme Lead (Homelessness) at World Habitat, a global housing foundation that celebrate projects that provide outstanding, innovative and sustainable housing solutions. Patrick leads the European End Street Homelessness Campaign, a network of organisations and NGOs working together to tackle homelessness and campaign for the right to housing. 

The pandemic has shown more than ever the obvious dangers of unsuitable accommodation and over-crowding. According to a 2021 report by the New Policy Institute entitled The State of Economic Justice in Birmingham and the Black Country:

“There is a shortage of housing in Birmingham as well as high levels of fuel poverty across the whole area, due to both poor quality housing and low household incomes. Both Birmingham and the Black Country have a problem of housing unaffordability. It will take sustained and substantial increases in the resources available to local authorities  to be able to provide quality, affordable housing to those who need it.”

How are these conditions impacting on services on the ground – and what does the year ahead hold for single adults and families already suffering from fuel poverty and housing insecurity?

Join us for the latest ACF Housing and Homelessness Network session, as we hear perspectives from three Chief Executives leading charities in the region:

Marcia Lewinson, CEO; Women Acting In Today’s Society, Executive Coach, Mentor & Trainer, Motivational Public Speaker

For the last 18 years Marica has led Women’s. Charity Women Acting in Today’s Society.  (WAITS) in the capacity of CEO. Starting out as a volunteer in 1993 within WAITS supporting women to develop community-based support groups. 

Whilst at WAITS Marcia has developed Domestic Abuse projects, Resettlement projects for female offenders suffering domestic abuse and WAITS Refuge’s safe and confidential accommodation for women fleeing domestic abuse. 
An experienced trainer Marcia has written programs to support women’s development and involvement in the workplace, in boardrooms and in communities. She has developed innovative empowerment programs that have enabled women to develop their leadership skills adapting these skills to work for them in everyday life and in the workplace. For women experiencing family breakdown, trauma, domestic abuse and lone parenthood. Projects designed by Marcia have enabled women to overcome their practical and emotional issues whilst developing skills that have helped them raise their aspirations to start business and head toward the glass ceiling. 
An engaging Public speaker Marcia has delivered presentations across the world Chicago, Zimbabwe, Rome, Istanbul and Brussels, In front of audiences in the House of Lords, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Canadian Embassy and Local Government. On gender, race and empowerment models for women. 
Marcia is Chair of West Midlands Police, Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on Domestic Abuse 
Is also a member of Birmingham Safeguarding Panel. BSP

Carly Jones, CEO, SIFA Fireside
Carly has been CEO of SIFA Fireside since 2017, doubling the turnover of the charity in that time. She has extensive experience in the voluntary sector across a range of organisations from local grassroots services to international development. Prior to joining SIFA Fireside, Carly was the National Director for an international
development charity that provided community based support programmes for those living in the six poorest countries in Eastern Europe.

Carly has a degree in International Relations and Peace Studies and has spoken at national conferences on subjects including modern slavery, impact of government policy on homelessness, rough sleeping and the role of the commercial sector in sustainable employment for those who have experienced homelessness. Carly sits on Birmingham’s Homelessness Partnership Board and Birmingham’s Health and Wellbeing board. She is also a member of the Women President’s Organisation and has recently been co-opted onto the board of The Haven, a women’s domestic abuse and homelessness charity in Wolverhampton.

Patricia Johnson;
Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation
Patricia gained a BSc (hons) Psychology degree at Middlesex University which kick started her career in mental health.  She went on to work for a number of Third sector organisations including Mind in Birmingham and Rethink.   She has worked for Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation (SACMHF) as the CEO for 19 years where she has been able to introduce a programme of change and transformation.  The changes she led included increased and mixed income streams, implementation of ISO 9001 Quality Standard, increased service delivery, wider geographical reach and embedded user involvement and participation. She achieved a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Wolverhampton University in 2012 which helped to cement some business acumen! 
She has previously held roles as Trustee for the then African Caribbean Health Improvement Programme in Sandwell, a former member of a Regional Implementation Group for the West Midlands region which worked on the wider recommendations from the Breaking the Circles of Fear report and an Advisor for the Foundation for Social Improvement, Small Business Advice Hub and former Director of local Consortia, Communities in Sync, where SACMHF is a consortium member.  Currently she is Advisory Board member for Healthwatch Sandwell and a Community Panellist for the Social Investment Business. 

This event will take place online. A Zoom link will be sent 48 hours before. 

Time: 1.00pm - 3.00pm 

If you would like to discuss access requirements, please contact [email protected] 

Please note that this event might contain discussions of sensitive topics or information.