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That was the year that was 2021 - Martine's blog

With 2021 drawing to a close, GMHF Programme Lead Martine Whitehead reflects on an incredible year for the pilot.

It’s been an amazing year for the pilot, for so many reasons, and it’s been quite humbling to sit back and reflect on 2021.

The people that have been helped by the pilot have continued to thrive and the partnership has flourished in the face of a very challenging external environment.

The year started on a high when we hit the 200-mark in February. An amazing achievement given that the pandemic was still having a profound effect on us all.

We ended Year Two with 224 people in a safe and secure home of their own and entered Year Three determined to hit and hopefully surpass our initial target of 330 people.

In June, we helped our 250th person into their own home and the next month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness – which our pilot has been a major part of – recommended that the three regional pilots receive future funding.

July was the month we released our first film “The Power of Partnerships,” which highlighted the incredible work done by the partnership, our network and the people on the pilot. It had a huge impact on everyone who watched it, lots of tissues were needed.

The second interim report was published and highlighted the continued fantastic being work done by the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot and the other regional pilots testing the model at scale.

September was a very busy month as Project Manager Mike Hughes and I co-hosted a masterclass on the benefits of the Housing First at the Housing 2021 conference at Manchester Central. It was very well received and gave us a fantastic platform to showcase the pilot.

Members of our co-production panel launched Crisis’ Homes For All campaign at the Houses of Parliament and we released our second film, celebrating the work of our amazing engagement workers.

In October, the second regional evaluation report was released and gave all the pilots a huge sign of approval for their efforts in helping some of the most vulnerable in society.

Also our amazing co-production panel performed their second Legislative Theatre piece "In the pilot's seat." This powerful production was used to highlight why Housing First works and should be available to everyone who needs it.

In November, the pilot won the Housing Team of the Year at the CIH Northern Housing Awards (pictured above) as well as picking up a Highly Commended award at the UK Housing Awards.

We picked up another Highly Commended at the Homeless Link Awards in December before we rehoused our 300th person in their own home.

These are just some of the highlights of an amazing year and I could write a book on all of the incredible work done behind the scenes by our amazing frontline colleagues over the past 12 months.

As we wait for the outcome of the spending review for all three Housing First pilots, we can look back and be incredibly proud of what we have all achieved.

It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so privileged to have played a part in it.

Together, we are truly making a difference.


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