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Sonia's blog - Onward with the partnership

The GM Housing First partnership draws its strength from the incredible organisations that help to support the programme. In this blog, Sonia Thompson, Onward Homes Neighbourhood Delivery Manager, talks about why her organisation takes part in the programme.

"Onward Homes is delighted to have supported the Housing First project since inception of the project and has seen the great contribution that it has made towards ending rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.   

We have housed and supported 23 people as part of the programme, with 17 of these still accommodated with Onward. 

We are proud to be a part of GM Housing First, seeing first-hand how it provides housing and intensive support to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and go on a journey to become more independent and improve their life chances.    

One of the key success factors is the joint working between the programme and Onward with colleagues working very closely together to support individuals to sustain their tenancy.    

Onward has also adopted a more flexible approach in applying some of its policies and procedures in the knowledge that some people need that extra help – this tailored approach has worked really well.  

There have been some challenges along the way, to be expected given the trauma experienced by many throughout their life. Unfortunately a small number of residents have been unable to sustain their tenancy for various reasons, although there have been successful outcomes for the vast majority.

We have had some real success stories including Emmie’s (not her real name) experience below: 

Emmie commenced her tenancy in July 2022 when she was pregnant and expecting her first child. Due to her previous life experiences this was an exciting and scary period for Emmie, who worked with a number of support agencies to ensure her own and the baby's health.

A plan was established and suitable accommodation found in conjunction with the initiative. Emmie was delighted with her new flat. Since moving in we have been in regular contact with her and worked closely with the Housing First Support Worker.  

This includes supporting Emmie to maximise her income and get the financial support she was entitled to. Managing and supporting her along the way has been very much a joint effort with internal colleagues and the Housing First Support worker.   

She continues to be very happy in her home, rebuilding her life with her new baby son. Both have settled in really well and due to the certainty provided from having a new home as a base, the future looks much brighter than previously for both mother and son."


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