Housing First

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What is Housing First?

Our Housing First service started as an internally funded pilot in 2015, to establish new ways of working with female offenders with multiple and complex needs – and for whom other services have failed. It has been recognised as having high fidelity to the original Housing First principles as well as being commended for its unique gender and trauma informed methodology.

It has since attracted a further three years funding which will provide us with the longest evaluation study of this way of working in the UK.

‘Housing First’ is an approach which transforms thinking about how to intervene with homeless and vulnerable people. At its heart, Housing First has a recovery orientation that places the customer’s choice of housing and support at the centre.

The underlying principle of the Housing First model is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed in permanent self-contained housing with wrap-around services as required. From this stable base people are then able to prioritise other problems and work through them at their own pace, making use of their strengths, and with the support of a worker to help make informed choices.

The model is well established, and has a compelling evidence base across the world. Results of 85-90% tenancy sustainment are consistently seen when the 7 principles are followed to a high degree of fidelity.

The Principles of Housing First

  • Flexible support is provided for as long as it’s needed
  • People have a right to a home
  • Housing and support are separated
  • Individuals have choice and control
  • The service is based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations
  • An active engagement approach is used
  • A harm reduction approach is used

The initial programme was evaluated by the University of York and described ‘ as a distinct variant of Housing First’ with unparalleled outcomes in tenancy sustainment and reducing offending.

There is a strong body of evidence that Housing First is a cost effective solution delivering strong outcomes for people with high support needs and we have used our experience and success in this area to develop further iterations of the service.

Housing First for Individuals fleeing Domestic Abuse

We are one of only two pilots nationally testing the Housing First model as an alternative to refuge provision for households experiencing domestic violence. This service also has provision for women who have entered the country under a spousal visa, fleeing domestic abuse and who have no recourse to public funds whilst applying for leave to remain.

Housing First for Female Rough Sleepers

In recognition of the lack of appropriate provision and trauma informed facilities for female rough sleepers we have a further iteration of the original pilot supporting female rough sleepers and couples.

Housing led model

We have reconfigured an accommodation based service for single homeless people with medium levels of support needs to a Housing led model with several of the Housing First principles applied to delivery.

GM Housing First

We are one of the delivery partners for the GM Housing First national pilot programme with particularly responsibility for the fidelity of the programme and for the Zone C, which covers Stockport, Oldham and Tameside.

GM Housing First was launched in April 2019 and is one of the three Housing First pilots announced by the Government as part of their strategy to tackle homelessness, with the other two pilots running in the West Midlands and Liverpool City Region.

This three-year project aims to house 400 people across Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs. It is run by a consortium of eight housing providers including Jigsaw Group and is led by Great Places with the support of the Greater Manchester Housing Partnership (GMHP) and GM Mayor Andy Burnham.

As with our other Housing First projects, GM Housing First is delivered with a high fidelity to the Pathways to Housing model, in that we offer permanent homes to people who are homeless in an area of their choosing, which is then used as a base from which to provide intensive, wrap-around support.

Jigsaw Support is delivering the service in Zone C alongside Stockport Homes. As housing providers, we are able to provide some properties for the provision of Housing First, however we are also reliant on pledges from other housing providers as well as private landlords and benefactors.

If you would like to pledge a property or support for our Housing First customers, please contact GMHF@greatplaces.org.uk or visit the website https://www.gmhousingfirst.org.uk

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