22 January 2018
A scheme that takes homeless people off the streets and provides them with secure housing and support services in their home has been given a boost by Green Councillors.
‘Housing First’ works on the basis that people struggling with homelessness are better able to respond to support services from the security of a home. Under the scheme, people stuck in a cycle of repeat homelessness are provided with secure accommodation from which to receive specialist support, manage mental and physical health needs and work towards rebuilding their lives. Evidence from widespread roll-out of the scheme in Canada revealed that 90% of previously homeless people were still in stable housing one year after being housed.
Under the Green-led Council in 2014 a trial of Housing First successfully supported up to ten people.
Local campaigners and Greens have pushed the Labour Council to do more to expand the initiative across the city, pointing to other promising schemes in Liverpool and Manchester. With the cost of managing rough sleeping estimated to amount to up to £26,000 per year, studies show that support provided to people in their own stable accommodation can be up to five times more effective than other approaches.
Councillor David Gibson, who put forward a series of recommendations asking the Council to expand Housing First, commented:
“The approach behind ‘Housing First’ is to take people off the streets and give them a place to call home. From this secure base, people receive the regular, intensive support they need to turn their lives around. Imagine trying to find work or to recover from addiction or trauma without the stability of a secure home. Greens pioneered this approach for the city in 2014 for homeless people with the most complex needs, and it has proved successful and cost effective.
“Up until now, this approach has been neglected by the Labour Council, but if we are to have any chance of ending rough sleeping, we have to focus on providing more move-on accommodation and practical solutions such as Housing First. I am pleased that local campaigners and Greens have pushed the Council to commit to securing both resources and housing to boost this vital scheme.”