Updated: Feb 26
The Greater Manchester Housing First pilot has been highlighted in the Close to Home report by the Centre for Social Justice, which makes the case for Housing First at scale to be rolled out nationally.
Here, Programme Lead Emily Cole gives her reaction to the report:
"The Greater Manchester Housing First pilot heavily contributed to the CSJ research into scaling up Housing First in England and we are pleased to see this published with the recommendations to the government in the ‘Close to Home’ report.
Just before the publishing of the report, the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot hit a significant milestone – we had just supported our 200thperson into their own home, with 97 of those people being supported into their own home during the various lockdowns following the global pandemic.
Currently, the GM pilot is only funded for three years and is due to end March 22, which is why we fully support the first recommendation in the CSJ report regarding the call for sustainable funding.
We know Housing First works and is achieving fantastic outcomes in the pilot so we need this to continue and urge the government to continue funding the progress made so far.
The three national pilots are changing the paradigm of how the right model can provide an effective solution to ending homelessness for people with multiple and complex needs while having created a legacy for the people on the programme and the schemes to come in the future.
It is clear that Housing First does need to play an integral part in the wider strategic response to homelessness if the Government want to meet their manifesto commitment of ending rough sleeping in this parliamentary term.
Although reaching 200 is a fantastic achievement, it’s a number. Behind every number is a person helped into their own tenancy and a story of a relationship between workers and the people they support; between registered providers and delivery partners and between wider services.
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.
Our current tenancy sustainment rate is 89% which demonstrates the high fidelity (how aligned to the seven key HF principles the support being delivered is) Housing First service we are delivering is effective as the higher the fidelity, the better the outcomes.
It is vital that support is delivered aligned to the seven key principles of the model to ensure that it is Housing First that is being provided which is why we wholeheartedly support the recommendation in the report for national stewardship and a shared vision grounded in a high-fidelity approach.
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.
Given the complex and multiple needs of the people on the programme, partnership working is integral to the model with Housing First being a multi-agency approach that requires the involvement of different agencies and sectors to be able to meet the multiple needs of people on the programme which is why we also support the recommendation for cross-departmental funding and governance set out in the report.
In its first two years, the GM Housing First pilot has been able to build an effective network across all 10 boroughs aimed at providing the support structure to allow people to access the help that they need.
Greater Manchester Housing First is a cross-sectoral partnership involving 11 different delivery partners after recently completing a responsive commissioning exercise to emerging cohort needs we have now fully integrated four new delivery partners who each bring expertise in working with women, young people and offenders, which will further broaden our partnerships offer.
We can see the difference the programme is having across Greater Manchester and the other national pilots, 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.
The Close to Home report spells out clearly that it supports Housing First and states that it must be central to the Government’s planning going forward.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Mayor Andy Burnham has provided tremendous support and it is clear to anyone who reads the report must conclude that the model provides a significant return on investment and provides real outcomes.
My takeaway from the report is that the Government must make the pilots permanent as together, we are making a difference."
There is a specific section on GMHF, which starts on page 108.
Click on the report above or click here to visit the CSJ website HERE