No First Night Out demonstrates early successes

Friday, 11 November 2016 - 2:42pm

Peter Smith looks at how partnership working is enabling a new approach to rough sleeping prevention.

As Head of Partnerships, I’m always very interested in getting involved with new and different ways of working to prevent homelessness, particularly when it involves a number of partners.

One example of this is a particular piece of work that has been undertaken across the three London Boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets & the City of London Corporation called No First Night Out. Since becoming responsible for our national partnership work in July, I have had the pleasure of being part of the steering group for this initiative, and it has been great to see how taking a new approach can start to make a difference. This is further demonstrated by the reference to No First Night Out in the recently announced DCLG Homeless Prevention Programme.

It is obvious to all of us that prevention and early intervention really can make a difference in someone’s life, and actually preventing somebody from sleeping rough at all while offering them a clear alternative is surely the best possible response. With No First Night Out this has already been achieved in a variety of ways.

Firstly, based on thorough research into the characteristics of rough sleepers in the area, a detailed “typology” was developed. This in turn led to the development of a screening tool, enabling early identification of those imminently at risk of rough sleeping, for use by all partner agencies and housing options teams. Secondly, after applying the tool to identify this cohort, intensive case work in the form of one-on-one support, mediation, gaining accommodation in the private rented sector and engaging clients in a variety of settings, has enabled us to avert rough sleeping.

As I began with, the key to achieving these promising early results within No First Night Out has been the partnership working and the dedication shown by the individuals within it. I hope that you take the time to read the project's first six-month evaluation - which you can download on the link below - and like me appreciate the importance of the effective partnerships it demonstrates.

It is still early days but could this be a new approach to prevention?

NFNO Report

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Peter Smith

Head of partnerships

Peter manages the delivery of our partnerships work across England, supporting homelessness services to strengthen their performance to ensure the greatest impact in supporting people into a settled, independent life, and on preventing and ending homelessness.