Housing First, an innovative approach to reducing homelessness, is celebrating its second anniversary in Stoke-on-Trent this month.
Led by Brighter Futures, working closely with partner agencies and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the service works with people to find stable accommodation as the first step and supporting them to deal with other things, such as mental health difficulties and drug/alcohol dependencies.
Since launching in July 2018, Housing First has worked with several people to find a home of their own – including 17 between March 2019 and April 2020.
Earlier this year, the service was also awarded extra funding by Homeless Link to offer specialised support to females. 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.
The Housing First model works with a smaller caseload of people than other services, and this allows more intense support for people who need it the most.
Helena Evans, Chief Executive of Brighter Futures, says: “We’re pleased with the impact the service has made in the first two years. We know the reasons behind homelessness are complex and we were given the chance to work with people in a way that took a different approach.
“It’s so simple when you think about it, but providing a safe secure home with wrap around intensive 1:1 support really can be life-changing – we believe the right to a home is the very foundation to help someone on the road to recovery.
“It’s part of a wider spectrum of approaches to help tackle homelessness and supporting some of our society’s most vulnerable members and will complement existing services.
“At Brighter Futures, we aim to help people with mental health needs, homelessness, and other complex needs to live fulfilled lives. We are always looking at different ways of working with our customers and how we can meet people’s needs.
Housing First Stoke-on-Trent Operational Manager, Jane Turner, is also a national trainer. She delivers training sessions across the country to help other Housing First providers improve service delivery.