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Mike's blog - relationships are the key to HF success

Sitting down to write a blog is such a difficult task for me -I'd like to say I get writer’s block but that would be overselling my writing style and abilities.

So I’m going to try to focus and ignore the small matter of a year of lockdown and a global pandemic and focus on our housing processes and how choice and control are central to the successes we see.

Firstly, I want to say a thank you to every Housing Association and landlord who has provided accommodation to the pilot.

They have had to tolerate my relentless mithering about property offers. I’m never satisfied and always ask for more!

We have had amazing support from the Greater Manchester Housing Providers and all its members who have delivered over 150 property offers during our second year of operation.

With additional properties provide by the Ethical Lettings Agency (LetUs) and Private Rented Sector landlords, we have supported 214 people into their own safe and secure accommodation since April 1, 2019.

We have worked hard with our accommodation partners to make sure each rehousing is a success and have so far not had any evictions.

That’s not to say that some tenancies haven’t worked out, but when this situation occurs we arrange for managed moves and learn the lessons as to what and why things might have gone wrong in the first tenancy.

All of the hard work and flexible support provided by the pilot delivery partners and our accommodation partners mean that we are seeing a tenancy sustainment rate of 89 per cent across the pilot as a whole and even higher in some Local Authority areas.

The question we are often asked is: why Housing First is successful where other interventions have not been with the cohort of people who have experienced repetitive homelessness and many other barriers to rehousing?

There isn’t a simple answer to this, but I think there are two main reasons:


  • We take time to build relationships of trust and equality with the people referred on to the programme;

  • The person being rehoused is in control;

  • The rehousing process moves at the pace they are comfortable with.

We actively build relationships with our housing providers so there is clear communication and issues are addressed immediately, not weeks down the road when they have become too big to fix.

Choice: The person being rehoused has choice. If they don’t like a property, they can turn it down. We actively encourage them to exercise their choice and control to make sure they are truly happy about the property they are signing up for.

The combination of trusting relationships and choice and control is empowering - often it’s the first time in years that a person has had control over their journey.

All of this means that when someone moves in they feel empowered. It is their property and most importantly it is their HOME.

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