Housing First Fund grantees

Homeless Link has awarded grants totalling £450,000 to five Housing First providers to extend and improve the support offered to people experiencing chronic homelessness and multiple disadvantage.

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA), Exeter Housing First service

BCHA, in partnership with Julian House, will employ a full-time Peer Mentor & Co-production Development Worker for two years. This role will lead on two distinct phases of planning and implementation and will include:

  • To meaningfully co-produce with customers and stakeholders a Housing First Peer Mentor (PM) offer that will define organisational commitment and protocols.
  • To design and deliver an induction, training and ongoing CPD and support pathway for PMs. Leading an organisational preparedness exercise, ensuring policies, procedures and culture best supports people using lived experience with intentionality.
  •  Recruiting, supporting and supervising 3 PMs within Year 1 and 6 within Year 2 within our Housing First service.

Peer Mentors will support residents, using their own lived experience to help navigate and understand recovery, emotional wellbeing and trauma.

Welcoming the grant, Martin Hancock, Chief Executive of BCHA, comments: "We are delighted with the recent award of additional funding that will ensure people with lived experience of homelessness are empowered to shape future services and support others who are receiving our services. Co-creation and co-production of services is very important to us at BCHA. We welcome the opportunity provided by the grant award from Homeless Link to further develop a peer mentor offer for our customers."

Brighter Futures Housing Association, Stoke-on-Trent Housing First Service

This project will enhance the existing Housing First service in Stoke-on-Trent with gender expertise. It will recruit a Service Coordinator that will focus solely on engaging women, including those who are 'hidden homeless' through a proactive, dedicated engagement approach, to increase the overall effectiveness and impact of the service for women experiencing homelessness and multiple disadvantage. It will invest in training staff to offer a gender-informed approach by training them in gender and trauma informed support, Psychologically-Informed Environments and violence against women. 

Helena Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Brighter Futures Housing Association Ltd., says: “We know that women with a history of rough sleeping are often vulnerable and may have experienced traumatic experiences such as domestic violence, and/or exploitation. The average life expectancy of a woman sleeping rough is just 43 years. One of the principals of our Housing First service is to give customers choice and control of their future. By providing tailored support at the right time that addresses these issues, we give ourselves a better chance of doing this.

"By embedding a gendered-informed approach, we can help women to build a stronger foundation for the future and enable them to work with services to help prevent a return to homelessness.”

SHP, services in the London Boroughs of Islington, Newham and Redbridge

The project aims to build on current expertise in delivering Housing First and respond to the systemic challenges of a multi-agency approach. It will deliver system change that leads to better and more sustainable outcomes for the clients. The proposed Strategic Partnership Manager role will work with multiple agencies across Islington, Newham and Redbridge in order to improve partnership working and the outcomes for clients. The project will focus on creating a sustainable network of support for clients by building links between agencies and getting the key delivery partners around the table. This will enable better service access and multi-agency responses for all clients as well as developing a model of good practice.

SHP Assistant Director Mark Taylor-Kirk, says: We are delighted that Homeless Link has agreed to fund this strategically critical role, which will enable improvements in the outcomes and scale of Housing First provision in London. Even where Housing First projects are working extremely well, clients continue to face a range of system-related issues and blockages when accessing other support and treatment services, which can impede their recovery.  

“The Strategic Partnership Manager will work with multiple agencies across Islington, Camden, Newham and Redbridge, identifying barriers to access for clients and developing a coordinated approach to overcome them, which in turn will help build a best practice model that is replicable in other London Boroughs.”

South Yorkshire Housing Association, Rotherham Housing First service

This project will involve the introduction of an in-house psychologically informed offer to all current Housing First Rotherham customers. We’ll recruit a qualified counsellor who has direct experience and training to deliver trauma informed counselling. Counselling will be delivered to customers on a 1:1 basis, in a setting of their choice. Counselling will aim to tackle trauma and adverse childhood experiences as a root cause of prolific substance misuse and entrenched homelessness. The provision will be accessible to all 25 Housing First customers, for a period of two years. The counsellor will also have a development role for the direct workforce on Housing First Rotherham, and across the wider sector to understand and work in a more trauma informed way.

Gareth Parkin, Area Lead at South Yorkshire Housing Association, says: "We’re absolutely delighted to secure the funding to deliver trauma informed counselling on our Housing First Rotherham. Through co-designing our proposal with our customers, we heard loud and clear that customers would absolutely welcome the opportunity to understand how previous trauma affects their wellbeing, and to take positive action to realise this does not have to dominate their future."

St Mungo’s, London Borough of Camden Housing First service

St Mungo's will appoint an Occupational Therapist (OT) to work with people living in the Camden Housing First pathway. The OT will work directly with clients to empower them in their independence, while connecting the Housing First team to key contacts across the sector, and sharing skills with the team to embed the learning into their practice.