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Three ‘internationally-proven’ Housing First pilots set to kick off

Three areas in England will be given financial backing to pilot projects aimed at getting rough sleepers off the streets, the housing and communities secretary has confirmed. As previously revealed by PSE, the projects in the West Midlands, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester will offer support to aid individuals in recovering from complex health issues, such as substance abuse and mental health difficulties.

The pilots will be based on Housing First, which the government says is an “internationally-proven” approach – having already achieved success in the United States – to supporting rough sleepers into long-term accommodation. Housing secretary James Brokenshire 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 £1.2bn to break the homelessness cycle, but we know there’s more to do to help people off the streets for good.”

Housing First tackles long-term rough sleeping by putting the emphasis on finding a secure and affordable home for individuals, whilst providing them with expert support to rebuilt their lives.

In Europe the projects have reportedly ended homelessness for at least eight out of 10 people in the scheme, compared to hostel-based accommodation – which results in 40% to 60% of users with complex needs leaving, or being ejected, before their homelessness is resolved. Earlier this year, PSE looked at the homelessness tragedy, as numbers of rough sleepers rose for the seventh year. Late last night, we also spoke to Manchester mayor Andy Burnham about the Housing First pilot in his region. Funding for the pilots was announced in the Autumn Budget. There is a £30m cash pot for 2018-19, with further funding agreed for next year targeted at local authorities with high numbers of people sleeping rough.

These areas will be supported to develop local interventions by the 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 hand addiction.

There will be £100,000 of funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping workers to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge. In addition, the government says that it is working with the National Housing Federation to look at providing additional, coordinated move-on accommodation for rough sleepers.

Top image: Yui Mok PA Wire


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