£450,000 funding boost for Housing First projects across UK

The grants programme aims to improve the support offered to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

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Homeless Link has today (26th November) announced a funding injection of £450,000 to five existing Housing First provider across the UK.

The Housing First Fund, funded by Comic Relief, aims to extend and improve the support offered to people experiencing chronic homelessness and multiple disadvantage, including physical and mental ill health, substance misuse and histories of offending.

Homeless Link’s grants programme sits alongside and will feed back into its Housing First England project, which has been working since 2016 to promote and grow a “national Housing First movement.”

It aims to support existing and potential support providers, housing providers and commissioners by producing guidance and research, offering networking and training opportunities and policy influencing.

The grants will help the five announced organisations to introduce new approaches and build capacity within services that are already delivering Housing First at a local level.

Each was asked to show how the funding will improve service sustainability beyond the end of the grant. Those successful are as follows:

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

BCHA, in partnership with Julian House, will employ a Peer Mentor and Co-production Development Worker for two years, to lead on the co-production of a peer mentor offering.

The role will plan and deliver recruitment, training, professional development and support for the peer mentors.

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

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

The service will be enhanced with gender expertise and a focus on pro-actively engaging and supporting women experiencing homelessness and multiple disadvantage.

This will include training staff in gender- and trauma-informed care, Psychologically Informed Environments and violence against women.

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

SHP will address the difficulties of multi-agency working, introducing a new role to promote systems change and ensure better partnership working between the range of different services needed to support Housing First residents.

Residents will benefit from improved outcomes through a sustainable support network.

  • South Yorkshire Housing Association, Rotherham Housing First service

The service will provide in-house psychological support for its residents, which will enable tailored interventions and lead to better outcomes.

Workshops to shape a trauma-informed counselling service will be co-designed with residents and one-to-one counselling and group support will be offered.

The Housing First staff will benefit from a reflective practice service.

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

St Mungo’s will employ an Occupational Therapist (OT) to work directly with people living in the Camden Housing First pathway to empower them in their independence.

The role will also connect the Housing First team to key contacts across the sector, and share skills with the team to embed the learning into their practice.

The grants panel included people with experience of delivering and commissioning Housing First services.

Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link said: “We are clear that Housing First is an integral part of the solution to ending homelessness and should be available locally for all people who experience multiple disadvantage.

“Our funding programme will ensure that organisations have the opportunity to build on the enthusiasm, commitment and expertise that already exists in Housing First teams in order to extend and improve Housing First services at the local level, which will then inform our national network – Housing First England – contributing to ending homelessness for hundreds of people.”

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