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Projects launched to support rough sleepers

Words: Laura Edgar
Homelessness / iStock_49937818

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced that three areas in England will be piloting a scheme that aims to get homeless people off the streets and into accommodation that is stable and affordable.

The funding for the projects was initially announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget.

The pilots will also take place Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands Midland Combined Authority.

Based on Housing First, an approach used internationally, the schemes will offer individuals intensive support to recover from health issues, including substance abuse and mental health difficulties, as well as sustain their tenancies.

The West Midlands will receive £25.3 million, with Greater Manchester set to receive £8 million and the Liverpool City Region £7.7 million.

Brokenshire said that evidence suggests that Housing First has an “incredible rate of success” in providing rough sleepers with support to get off the streets and rebuild their lives.

“We are investing over £1.2 billion to break the homelessness cycle, but we know there’s more to do to help people off the streets for good. This is why the government is leading the way in implementing Housing First in England.

“I believe these pilots will have a positive impact in their areas and I look forward to hearing about their successes over the coming months.”

In Europe, Housing First projects have been successful at ending homelessness for at least eight out of 10 people in the scheme, while hostel-based accommodation has resulted in between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of users with complex needs leaving, or ejected, before their homelessness is resolved.

Polly Neate, CEO at Shelter, said: “With rough sleeping at its highest in a decade this action to help people off the streets and into a safe, secure and affordable homes has never been needed more.

“Housing First offers a unique opportunity to tackle rough sleeping by moving people on the streets into a permanent home with the support to help them keep it.

“But it’s absolutely crucial that this is part of much broader plan from the government to fix our housing emergency. It urgently needs to get on with the job of building many more genuinely affordable homes and make sure housing benefit reflects the cost of renting.”

Image credit | iStock