England: Social landlords join call to scale up Housing First
A group of 12 organisations in England representing social landlords, local authorities and the wider homelessness sector are calling on the UK Government and social housing providers to help make Housing First available to those who need it.
The group, including Homeless Link, Crisis, the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Federation of ALMOs and Homes for Cathy, as well as housing associations A2Dominion, Two Saints, L&Q, South Yorkshire Housing Association, Camden Council and the Smith Institute (hosts of the Affordable Housing Commission), want to ensure that Housing First has its place in post-lockdown planning to end rough sleeping in England.
Research commissioned by Crisis and Homeless Link suggests that 16,500 people in England facing multiple disadvantage need a Housing First approach to end their homelessness. However, significantly fewer are currently receiving it.
The government’s recent pledge to invest in 6,000 supported move-on units offers a promising opportunity, and expanding Housing First provision should be key to this. The statement demands a long-term, cross-departmental investment in support and housing to deliver high-fidelity Housing First and offers support to the government to do so.
The statement calls on the government to commit long-term funding for the support services needed to enable 16,500 Housing First tenancies over the current government term and to ensure there is a supply of suitable homes to meet the scale of need for Housing First and wider housing-led provision to tackle homelessness.
Victoria Stirling, head of service at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We know that Housing First works; people engage with this in a way they don’t with other services. It has a clear role to play in building on the successes and momentum of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative during the COVID-19 lockdown.”
In Scotland, the Housing First Scotland Pathfinder published its first annual check-up report in May revealing 250-plus tenancies created so far in the five Pathfinder areas of Aberdeen/shire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, with more than 90% of people supported to stay in their home.