Housing First England: Homeless Link will support Housing First to become an accessible accommodation model that offers a home to hundreds of people experiencing multiple disadvantage.
Housing First is an approach which provides homeless people directly with accommodation, and then puts in place ‘wrap-around’ support to enable them to sustain their housing. This is different to many traditional forms of accommodation which require people to deal with a range of issues, such as alcohol and drug dependency, as a condition of their tenancy, before they can move on to more independent housing.
We believe Housing First offers a vital housing option for people experiencing multiple disadvantage and others at risk of long term homelessness for whom other accommodation is not accessible and safe. It has been shown to achieve better outcomes for homeless people in the US and in Europe. However as yet it is not widespread across England, its funding base is unsustainable, and practice is inconsistent:
• Only a third (34%) of homeless accommodation providers are using or exploring Housing First
• Only 9% have funding for 5 years or more
• Accessing suitable and properties; a lack of robust evaluation tools; and practical barriers such as training for staff were all cited as challenges by agencies.
Our project aims to change this and establish Housing First England: we will provide the leadership, guidance and practical tools to help make this a reality. This will involve research to address the evidence gaps; training and direct support to practitioners; and working with a coalition of funders, investors and policy makers to address the systematic blockages – such as supply – to making Housing First a reality.
This will benefit:
• People failed by existing service models and people at risk of homelessness for whom Housing First is an alternative to entering a cycle of service failure and repeat homelessness
• Practitioners and commissioners who will be equipped to reconfigure existing funding and service models to deliver the outcomes that Housing First can achieve across England.