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Housing First: pilot funding confirmed

Housing First: pilot funding confirmed

🕔09.May 2018

The West Midlands is one of three areas in England set to launch new pilot projects to support rough sleepers with complex needs get off the streets into stable and affordable accommodation, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP has today announced.

Funding for the Government’s Housing First Pilots was originally announced at the Autumn Budget.

Homes and cars at heart of second Devo Deal

The projects will offer individuals intensive support to recover from complex health issues, such as substance abuse and mental health difficulties, and sustain their tenancies.

The pilot projects will be based on Housing First, an “internationally proven” approach to supporting rough sleepers into long-term accommodation.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

The evidence shows Housing First has an incredible rate of success in providing rough sleepers with the support they need to get off the streets and to rebuild their lives.

We are investing over £1.2 billion to break the homelessness cycle, but we know there’s more to do to help people off the streets for good. This is why the Government is leading the way in implementing Housing First in England.

I believe these pilots will have a positive impact in their areas and I look forward to hearing about their successes over the coming months.

The West Midlands will receive £9.6m, whilst Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region are being awarded £8m and £7.7m respectively.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

Having seen Housing First in action in Helsinki, I can vouch for positive impact it has on supporting rough sleepers and was determined we trial it here in the West Midlands.

Street looks to Finnish homelessness

The Mayor continued:

In essence, it gives an opportunity for people who are homeless for a new start – an apartment or shared house – somewhere they can call home. And from there they will be given services to help them rebuild their lives.

Now the funding has been confirmed we can work with charities and local authorities who are working to support rough sleepers on getting the pilot up and running.

The latest figures suggest a modest decrease in the last 12 months in the West Midlands, I hope the funding for projects like Housing First will help us continue this progress as quickly as possible.

In Europe, the Government says Housing First projects have been successful at ending homelessness for at least 8 out of 10 people in the scheme. This is compared to hostel-based accommodation which has resulted in between 40% and 60% of users with complex needs leaving, or ejected, before their homelessness is resolved.

The confirmation of Housing First comes after Ian Austin MP, a potential challenger to Andy Street at the 2020 election, claimed that the money “promised several months ago” to tackle homelessness is “yet to arrive.”

Today’s announcement builds on measures the Government says it is bringing forward with the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it altogether by 2027, including:

  • A new Rough Sleeping Team made up of rough sleeping and homelessness experts with specialist knowledge across a wide-range of areas from housing, mental health and addiction;
  • A £30m fund for 2018 to 2019 with further funding agreed for 2019 to 2020 targeted at local authorities with high numbers of people sleeping rough. These areas will be supported by the new Rough Sleeping Team to develop local interventions to reduce the numbers of those sleeping rough; and
  • £100,000 funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping workers to make sure they have the right skills and knowledge to work with vulnerable rough sleepers.

The Government says it is additionally working with the National Housing Federation to look at providing additional, co-ordinated move-on accommodation for rough sleepers.

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