Hello, and welcome to my first official blog and what a whirlwind the last few weeks have been!
After taking the reins from Emily Cole in March, it’s been fantastic to reflect on the end of the second year of the pilot and plan for an exciting Year 3.
For those of you who don’t know, at the end of Year 2, we had supported 224 people into their new homes and we have achieved a huge 89 per cent tenancy sustainment rate.
As we all know, the programme is about people and not numbers and the real impact is highlighted in the feedback and personal stories the people on the pilot share and their experiences of why Housing First has worked for them.
The fact that so many people have been flourishing in their new homes and are engaged with their Housing First Worker is even more of an achievement given the year we have had, and that the vast majority of it has been in lockdown.
This shows how creative, innovative and supportive our wonderful Housing First Workers are.
I also wanted to say a big thank you to all of the fantastic Registered Providers, who have pulled out all the stops to keep all those housing offers flowing as well as being flexible in their approach.
Also, all of the local authorities for their support and their amazing Rough Sleeper teams who work alongside us for solutions, all great examples of the power of the partnership across Greater Manchester.
Accommodation offers are key to the success of the pilot and there is always work to be done to ensure we are getting as many offers through as we can and that we are exploring every avenue.
We will be going out over the next few weeks, meeting with all of the registered providers, to review Year 2 and reaffirm pledges for Year 3, as well as continuing our work with local authorities to increase the number of private rented offers available to people.
As we are coming out of lockdown, we are aware there is a lot of work to be done around what comes next for people.
There’s no doubt that the Covid pandemic has impacted us all. But for so many people on the pilot, it has made so many things more difficult; lots more isolation and fewer opportunities to settle into local communities and participate in the things that they enjoy.
We are doing lots of work with people, and our co-production panel, to get our programme of activities up and running as well as linking in with lots of wider partners and community groups to help people achieve what comes next for them in their journey.
I am sure it’s no surprise that sustainability is also a big focus. I can’t believe we are already in Year 3 of the pilot and we are doing lots of work to try to ensure the pilot becomes permanent.
The evidence is clear that Housing First works and continues to have a huge impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people across Greater Manchester.
Together, we are making a difference.