Updated: Feb 12
A huge milestone for the programme has been reached with our 200th person supported into a permanent home of their own.
This is a huge achievement that 200 lives have been changed and people have been helped out of homelessness into homes of their choice which provide a stable base from which they can address other issues they may have at their own pace.
This is an impressive number however it is more than just a number as behind every one is a name and a person and a journey that has been supported by our dedicated delivery, housing and wider partners.
Housing First is also not about numbers housed but is internationally evidenced by tenancy sustainment rates of between 70-90 per cent.
As a programme, the current tenancy sustainment rate we are seeing is 88% which demonstrates the high fidelity (*how aligned to the seven key HF principles the support being delivered is) Housing First service we are delivering as the higher the fidelity the better the outcomes.
It is a huge achievement when you consider the multiple and complex needs of the people that the programme is supporting; 89% have issues with drugs; 88% have mental health issues and 85% have a dual diagnosis of both a mental health issue and drug/ alcohol use.
It is also important to remember that it is Housing First and not housing only, the person-centred wrap-around support that is provided is vital to ensuring that tenancies are sustained.
Housing First is a multi-agency approach and requires the involvement of different agencies and sectors in order to be able to meet the multiple and complex needs of people on the programme.
Housing First can not work in isolation and provide all of the different support needed by people with partnership working being integral to the Housing First model.
We have now fully integrated our four new delivery partners who each bring a specialism in working with women, young people and offenders which will further broaden our partnerships offer as expertise and leaning is shared across delivery partners.
We are now a strong cross-sectoral partnership of 11 organisations operating pan regionally with co-production at the heart of what we do which is why it was great for the partnership to be recognised in this by receiving a highly commended Homeless Link Excellence award in co-production.
As we near the end of the second year of delivery and approach the final year of the programme our concerns turn to sustainability. Three years is simply not enough to set up and deliver a programme at this scale and just as the programme is starting to embed and achieve really positive outcomes at the end of the Government funding looms.
Without confirmation of the longevity of the programme, the final year of delivery will be impacted as people on the programme are already concerned with what will happen citing ‘this is the best I have been ever’ and are worried what will happen if the support ends.
Similarly, housing providers may be more reluctant to offer housing without knowing that the offer of long term support will be there.
We can clearly see the difference the programme is having across Greater Manchester and know the impact of Housing First from international evidence which is why we are focussed on ensuring that the intervention is sustained to form part of the wider regional strategic response to homelessness and health.
We will continue to share the outcomes the programme is having and plan to facilitate an external training programme over the current remaining time of the pilot to ensure learning and good practice is shared widely.
This should never have been a pilot as we know Housing First works, but needs to be one of the permanent solutions on offer to people who experience multiple disadvantages due to their needs which can not be met by traditional service offers to support to address their housing insecurity.
Together, we are making a difference.