Brighter Futures has been awarded a grant of £90,000 to improve and extend the specialist female support offered through the Housing First Stoke-on-Trent service.
The funding, provided through Homeless Link and the Comic Relief Housing First Fund, will enhance the support provided to vulnerable women experiencing homelessness, trauma and any other complex issues.
This gender-informed approach will see an increase in staff training and awareness of the issues raised above, as well as Psychologically Informed Environments (known as PIE) and violence against women.
Brighter Futures continues to develop ways of delivering a service that meets the needs of the people they support – with the aim of preventing a return to homelessness.
Housing First has been operating in Stoke-on-Trent since July 2018. Led by Brighter Futures, working closely with partner agencies, the service works with people to find stable accommodation as the first step and supporting them to deal with other underlying issues, such as mental health difficulties and drug/alcohol dependencies.
Jane Turner, Manager of Housing First Stoke-on-Trent and National Housing First Trainer, says: “This extra funding is a massive step. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives and looking at ways to improve the service we deliver. If the provisions we’re putting in place can make a difference to someone then it’s a brilliant thing.
“The unique thing about Housing First is that it’s different and we have to be innovative to deliver it. We recognise that, for a lot of the people we support, other services haven’t worked. Some of them have been homeless for many years and it’s about trying to change that.
“It involves more intense support – which is the reason we have low caseloads. We have Peer Mentors working in the service through Expert Citizens who manage this. These are people with lived experience and understand the situation our customers are in. We find this is the magic ingredient for engagement and other ways of working with them.”
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, comments: “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. We are delighted to be able to provide funding to help Brighter Futures enhance the support they can offer to vulnerable women in Stoke-on-Trent by embedding a gender-informed approach into their service.”
Brighter Futures also delivers the Housing First project in Coventry – and have been delivering services supporting mental health, homelessness, and complex issues in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and the West Midlands for 45 years.
For more information on Housing First and other Brighter Futures services, visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk.