Key takeaways from HF England report

Updated: Feb 3

The recent report from Homeless Link about Housing First projects across England revealed the expansion of the model across the country.


The recently released report – A Picture of Housing First in England – gave an insight into the scope and expansion of services across the country.


Greater Manchester Housing First is one of the projects that has been brought into being since the 2017 survey was carried out – one of three announced by Government to test the model at scale in March 2019.


The pilot is aiming to rehouse 330 people over its three-year lifespan and by the start of December, we had permanently rehoused 174 people with more than 91 people sustaining their tenancy for more than six months.


The report highlights the expansion of Housing First services across the country and breaks down the spread of the services and capacity across England over the last three years.

The key headline figures from the report include:

  • There are now 87 Housing First services across England – up from 28 in 2017.

  • The capacity of these services has increased six-fold; up from a combined capacity of 350 in 2017 to 1,995 now.

  • The North West is one of the capacity hotspots with the amount of services rising from five to eight over the three years since the last report and capacity rising from being able to support 81 people to 453 over that period.

  • Social housing was used by 81 per cent of services responding in 2020 compared with 61 per cent of those responding in 2017. Use of the private rented sector (PRS) among participating services has decreased from 57 per cent in 2017 to 35 per cent in 2020.

  • On average, individual Housing First services are larger than in 2017. The majority of services support between six and 20 individuals at any one time compared with between four and 12 individuals in 2017. In 2017 the largest service responding was able to support an estimated 56 people; in 2020 three services are able to support more than 100 people (the largest of which is able to support more than 250).

  • In total, 66 per cent of services receive local authority funding – most commonly though Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) funding or the homelessness grant provided by MHCLG to local authorities. Very few receive local authority funding via adult social care (nine per cent) or public health (six per cent).

Emily Cole, GMHF Programme Lead, said: “The report release coincided with the Housing First England conference which comprised of two days showcasing and providing learning of all the great achievements and impact that Housing First is having across the country.


"The sheer growth of the model as highlighted by the report just evidences the need for Housing First to form part of the solution to ending homelessness for individuals with multiple and complex needs.


“It was positive to hear from the Homelessness Minister Kelly Tolhurst who opened the conference and highlighted Governments commitment to expanding Housing First recognising the impact the model is having.


“Minister Tolhurst also highlighted the progress made by the three at scale pilots acknowledging the unique challenges faced when implementing this model at scale and referenced the importance of the evaluation that is being done to provide learning to inform future thinking.


“The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham opened day two of the conference speaking passionately about the need to see housing as part of the health policy and the need for Housing First to be adopted as a national philosophy.


“Andy highlighted that housing as a right should be enshrined in law and referenced the importance of giving time for people to recover. Andy called for the need for the pilots to be made permanent.


“All of this was really encouraging to hear as we enter the final year of the Greater Manchester Housing First programme and focus on sustainability of the intervention in the region.”


The reports are attached below

Picture of Housing First 2020_Headline R
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Download • 169KB

Picture of Housing First 2020_Full Repor
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Download • 316KB

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