Housing First – the opportunity to build a brighter future

It’s good to see support for Housing First from a range of people including Sajid Javid, the communities’ secretary and to read the Centre for Social Justice’s report on this subject sent to me by Richard Benyon MP, the report’s sponsor.

Stuart Housing Heroes (002)

We run Housing First schemes providing accommodation and targeted help for rough sleepers who find that poor health, a criminal record, no employment history or lack of qualifications make a move towards a settled way of life increasingly tough.

Our Housing First team secures accommodation with intensive support for entrenched rough sleepers with complex needs.

In most cases organisations have found it ‘impossible to house’ these clients, but we offer a stable environment with a personalised and comprehensive approach and our team supports them on their journey to independent living and recovery from addiction.

Local authorities have commented on the impressive outcomes we’ve achieved with some of their most entrenched rough sleepers.

The Bournemouth and Poole rough sleeper team highlight that all our clients have remained in their accommodation against all odds.

They commented: “Your hard work and dynamic problem solving approach means clients are quickly supported and moved into accommodation.

“Many were entrenched rough sleepers who didn’t want to engage and were the most marginalised of this vulnerable group.

“Your positive proactive approach and, where necessary, assertive techniques have broken down barriers and motivated clients to face the reality of their situation and plan for a new life.”

While there’s clear evidence to demonstrate the benefits of Housing First, it’s important to remember this isn’t the only solution.

Local authorities must ensure there’s a range of services to tackle homelessness that’s relevant to their circumstances.

But I’m convinced Housing First has an important part to play and we’ll be working hard to promote this, as it helps fulfil our vision to give people who are homeless, vulnerable or in need of support, the opportunity to build a brighter future.

 

This case study demonstrates the impact of our service:

Stuart (pictured) was in poor health, using drugs, accessing hospital regularly and sleeping rough. He had leg lacerations that without treatment would’ve resulted in amputation.

Initially we visited him where he was sleeping, encouraging him to keep his wounds clean by accessing showers at day-centres and accompanying him to his doctor. A mobile phone ensured regular contact and we took him to places to charge it so communication could be maintained.

Developing a relationship of trust and support Stuart was encouraged to receive treatment and support to address his addiction. We then got him settled in accommodation.

Initially he was visited daily to check all was well and this reduced to regular catch-ups.  Stuart is now settled and living independently.

He’s not returned to the streets, his rent is paid, his legs are almost healed and he’s successfully managing his drug use, which improved his overall health and wellbeing. He’s now working as an artist and recently sold some of his work at an exhibition.

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