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A New York-style scheme to combat homelessness is proving a success in getting people off the streets in Stoke-on-Trent.

Housing First, led by Brighter Futures in partnership with Expert Citizens, is based on an international initiative and helps people with complex needs to make a positive change in their lifestyle.

The service first launched in July 2018 – and is supporting people to move away from long-term homelessness.

The approach was first developed in New York in 1992. It has since become central to homelessness strategies around the world, with notable success in Canada, Finland, the USA, and Denmark.

Housing First Stoke-on-Trent received over £75,000 through the government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which was distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. Housing is provided as a first step and bespoke intensive wraparound support is provided for as long as the person requires this and is not tied into the offer of accommodation.

The Brighter Futures service also provides both a Specialist Women’s Worker and a Housing Liaison Officer to provide the best solutions for people.

Expert Citizens work closely with the team to provide Peer Mentors. These are people with lived experience of both homelessness and what it takes to turn lives around for the better.

Jane Turner, Manager of Housing First in Stoke-on-Trent, says:

“So often, people sleeping rough are told to ‘sort themselves out’ before they can be supported. They need to manage their complex needs, such as mental ill-health or drug and alcohol dependencies.

“Yet, the reality is, we know they can’t do it without the foundation of a roof over their head.

“Housing First is a creative approach that follows seven key principles. We pride ourselves on our close work with our partners to help people move away from homelessness. People for who other approaches simply haven’t worked.

“It’s an integral part of the solution to ending homelessness and we know we have to continue to be innovative to reach out to those experiencing multiple disadvantages on a local scale.”

“We are always looking to work with landlords and housing providers who want to be part of both Housing First and part of the solution to homelessness. Our Housing Liaison Officer would be very happy to talk with you about how we can work together.”

Brighter Futures also provide homelessness provision such also includes 90 Hope Street Hostel, Furlong Court, a Community Outreach Vehicle, more than 150 properties, and the Rough Sleepers Team in Stoke-on-Trent.

For more information, visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk.

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