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Three regional mayors unite on homelessness


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The Metro Mayors for the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region have joined forces to call for an extension of the Government’s successful Housing First pilot scheme for tackling homelessness.

Andy Street, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram all share the same ambition to end rough sleeping and believe that the three Housing First pilots in their areas have been making a significant contribution to achieving this. 

Figures show that 96% of those who benefited from the scheme had come straight off the streets, 25% before they were 18 years old.

There are an estimated 1,018 people across the pilot programmes who will need support when the funding ends. A meeting of the cross-party All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing First last week also backed calls for an extension of the pilots.

Traditional homelessness services and health and support services do not work for many rough sleeping people with complex needs. That is why some individuals continue to sleep rough or move around the system. A person-centred and trauma-informed approach is a better way of supporting these individuals, which Housing First offers through ongoing intensive support. 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We all know homelessness is the ultimate exclusion, and rough sleeping is at the sharpest end of that. Thankfully we’ve made real progress in tackling rough sleeping across the West Midlands in recent years thanks to some brilliant collaborative work – but there is still so much more to be done.

“Speaking to people with lived experience, it is clear they have put their trust in our programme. I am therefore extremely keen that the Housing First model continues with Government support, and we honour that trust placed in us by society’s most vulnerable.”

The three pilots have worked with 1,245 individuals. Of those, 812 people have been housed in secure tenancies with an 87% tenancy sustainment rate. Eighty-seven people have been supported into another home.

As well as providing a home, Housing First supports individuals with health issues and disabilities. 

Forty-five per cent of people interviewed for the national evaluation of the pilots reported having difficulties with their mental health before the age of 16, with a further third (33%) between the ages of 16 and 25. Forty-nine per cent had a physical health issue, and 74% had a dual diagnosis. Thirty-one per cent had a disability.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Instead of looking at statistics or targets to be met, we treat people as human beings. Rather than cutting them adrift, we offer them wraparound support to address their complex issues. And, instead of temporary solutions, we’re helping to break the homelessness cycle and change people’s lives forever.

“Unfortunately, the future of these Housing First pilots in the country is unclear. I am calling on the Government to give Housing First sustainable, long-term funding and to work with us to help roll the scheme out across the country.”

Housing First in the West Midlands  is delivered in partnership with the seven WMCA local authorities via locally commissioned providers. 



Written by: David Watkins

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