Following our Housing First feature in The Guardian yesterday we have received lots of questions about the project.
Take a look at our answers below…
What is it?
Housing First is a new approach to supporting homeless people. The aim is to provide individuals with their own stable home alongside intensive, personalised support.
Why is it different?
It’s different because it provides a home first. Housing is seen as a human right, instead of a ‘reward’.
In terms of support, mainstream services are often not equipped to support those with complex and overlapping needs. For example, some may have a drug/alcohol dependency alongside mental health needs. Housing First creates a personalised support package, with much smaller staff caseloads. (Typical support workers have a caseload of 20-40, whereas Housing First support workers only 5-7).
What’s more, our partners Expert Citizens are able to offer peer mentors who have experienced being homeless themselves which is both valuable and inspirational to individuals.
What will the personalised support package include?
It can include anything from promoting drug/alcohol recovery to improving wellbeing and relationships. There will also be support with managing a home; such as budgeting skills. Support workers are allowed to be proactive, and use a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude.
What happens once they no longer need support, or if they disengage with the project?
We are offering a stable home with individual tenancy agreements. Support will always be available, but once it is no longer needed, our customers are able to stay in their home.
What types of homes are offered?
There are a range of different homes. Individuals are able to choose their home and its location, which is important as we support them to become a part of their local community.
Will it work?
The project has already been widely adopted across the USA, Canada, Denmark, Finland and France. There have also been successful pilots in Newcastle, London and The Midlands.