A partnership improving support for vulnerable households

First Choice Housing’s Closer to Home project was a winner at the Welsh Housing Awards – here I explain a bit more about our award-winning approach.

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Minister visits First Choice Housing Association.

First Choice Housing provides supported housing for vulnerable people enabling them to live independently within the community.

Initially established in 1988 to provide housing for people with learning disabilities resettling from long stay institutions we have enabled individuals to live independently as valued members within their local community.

Our passion and values for providing specialist housing for the most vulnerable drives us to continuously look for ways to improve standards and ensure that our customers receive the best service possible.

Working together to provide homes in place of residential care for people with challenging behaviour “Closer to Home“(C2H) is a partnership between First Choice Housing Association, Local Authorities and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The house provides an environment bespoke to the needs of the tenant and our support partners deliver Positive Behaviour Support. This powerful combination has seen behaviours that challenge reduce dramatically.

People with challenging behaviour have often been housed out of county and away from their families due to the lack of suitable accommodation within the locality.

The Closer to Home partnership provides a joined up long term multi agency solution to improving the quality of life for people with complex support and health care needs.

The model has seen incredible results which have given tenants independence and security of tenure.

The partnership has successfully demonstrated that living in an ‘ordinary house in an ordinary street’ with the appropriate support can deliver significant outcomes for people with complex health needs and challenging behaviour.

Case Study

Brian has ASD and lived in Swansea but at the age of 11 he went to a specialist residential school in Basingstoke.

The distance meant that there was infrequent contact with his family. Brian, now 19 needed new accommodation so First Choice Housing Association worked with ABMU Health Board, City and County of Swansea Council, Bridgend CBC and Neath Port Talbot CBC to develop a housing and support package which would address his issues and reduce his challenging behaviour.

Brian now carries out his own activities of daily living whilst engaging positively with his support staff.  His quality of life has improved and his challenging behaviour significantly reduced.

Brian was also able to see his family much more frequently, in particular his maternal grandmother with whom he has a relationship that is very important to him.

Outcomes and Achievements

C2H has addressed issues rather than managed Brian’s behaviour resulting in lower levels of support. Within one year support costs have reduced from £300k to £100k.

Working with partners we have provided 38 bed-spaces resulting in:

  • 40 people live in their own homes
  • 30 people returned from out of area or very costly local services
  • Dramatic improvements in quality of life
  • Reductions in Challenging Behaviour
  • Annual revenue savings averaging more than £100k per tenant

C2H has led to increased participation in a range of activities at home and in the community, developing personal interests and relationships.

This has been associated with reductions in frequency and intensity of behaviours that challenge.

Families have commented it’s easier for them spend more time and be involved now that their relative is closer to home.

One mum commented ‘marvellous’ when asked to sum up her experience of her daughter moving to a C2H house adding: “She’s happier, more confident and her self-esteem has increased.”

One commissioner said: “Closer to Home has given us strong partnerships with common visions and priorities and is a key strategic commissioning priority, we want to continue the supporting living model and develop and ensure services remain high quality.”

We are incredibly proud to have won this award recognising the excellent partnership developed with the Local Authority and Heath Board.

This kind of innovation makes a significant difference to the quality of the lives of  individuals whilst reducing costly care packages.


This project, along with every shortlisted application in the Welsh Housing Awards, was published in CIH Cymru’s annual Good Practice Compendium, sponsored by Lovell.

The 2017 edition is a compilation of practice from across the breadth of the sector, divided into chapters that reflect areas of focus in housing right now.

You can download the Good Practice Compendium 2017 in English or Welsh on the CIH Cymru website.