Help us make Housing First a viable accommodation option in England - join the movement now

Monday, 8 February 2016 - 7:39am

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Housing First England; a collaborative project aimed at improving the lives of people experiencing entrenched or repeat homelessness.

Over the next three years we aim to make the Housing First model a viable and integrated housing option across the country.  We are calling on those who are interested to get in touch; whether a current provider, looking to set up a project, or if you are generally interested in finding out more.

What is Housing First?

Originating in the US in the early 1990s, the Housing First model of providing accommodation has grown in popularity across much of the western world.  Instead of requiring a level of ‘housing readiness’ from individuals with complex health and social needs, the core principles of Housing First include:

  1. Housing is a human right
  2. Housing should not be conditional on an individual accessing support
  3. Support should be provided in a personalised way for as long as is needed

The model has an international evidence base showing its success in supporting individuals away from a life of entrenched and chronic homelessness.  Housing First provides people, who might otherwise struggle to sustain accommodation, the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a secure and safe place.

Why do Housing First in England?

We know from many of you that the number of people with complex needs who are entrenched on the street, or experiencing repeat episodes of homelessness, is on the rise.  You’ve told us that existing housing options are often unable to house or support these individuals.

Around one third of accommodation providers in England also tell us they are already offering a Housing First type service.  Similarly to other countries using the approach, the outcomes from Housing First in England are promising: the numbers of people retaining their tenancies is around 70-90%.  The model works but the use of it here in England varies across providers.

The Housing First England project

With funding from Lankelly Chase and Comic Relief, we hope to grow the number of Housing First projects across England.  The voices of current Housing First residents will be at the heart of what we do as we raise awareness and understanding of the model.  We’ll support the practical development, implementation and review of new and existing Housing First projects through training, events and guidance. 

We’ll work to build and support local and national cross-sector networks and influence partners at a more strategic level.  We’ll be defining the principles of Housing First as fit for England and developing a fidelity assessment for you to plan, design and develop services.  We’ll be looking at different commissioning models, and the cost-effectiveness and long-term benefits of Housing First to build an evidence base for this model in England. 

Get involved or register your interest now

We can’t do any of this without involving you.  We need to learn from those already providing Housing First, support those looking to develop projects and gain commitment from those agencies who can help make Housing First a reality.  We believe that together we can make a real difference and that changes to the current system make this all the more important. So we are really excited to invite you to join us in taking up this challenge.

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Jo Prestidge

Innovation and good practice project manager

Jo is an innovation and good practice project manager, leading a range of projects and training including Housing First England and Trauma Informed Care.