The Greater Manchester Housing First pilot recently celebrated three years of accomplishment at an event at Gorton Monastery.
People who work on the frontline joined stakeholders, including Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, to celebrate supporting 330 of the most vulnerable people in the region into a home of their own – with a tenancy sustainment rate of 82%.
The event was a chance to reflect on the achievements of the first three years of the pilot, celebrate everything that had been accomplished and then plan for the next two years of the programme.
Starting from the principle that people have a right to housing, Housing First uses housing as a platform to enable people with multiple and complex needs to move away from homelessness.
The scheme also has at its heart the principle of co-production, where people with lived experience of rough sleeping and homelessness use their insight to help shape the services provided to others.
Greater Manchester Housing First Programme lead Emily Cole (pictured) said: “The last three years have been an incredible journey.
“From setting up the infrastructure from scratch, getting the right partners in place to deliver the service and support people into their own homes – and all in the wake of a global pandemic – the result is truly phenomenal.
“The model puts people in control of their recovery journey and we as a partnership have put people with lived experience at the heart of the programme design with co-production being a fundamental principle of our partnership, which has ensured the delivery of a responsive service to meet people’s ongoing needs and support their recovery.
“The event was a chance to thank the people on the frontline, give them a chance to reflect on everything they have been able to achieve, while looking forward to the next two years as we continue to challenge the system to create meaningful change.
“The partnership has created a wide network of services across Greater Manchester including housing, health, and the voluntary sector to name just a few and it’s a credit to everyone who has made the last three years such a success.”
Housing as a human right
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham added: “What’s been achieved over the past three years by Greater Manchester’s Housing First partnership is genuinely astounding.
“330 people have been given the keys to their own home and personalised support to take back control of their lives.
“All of this springs from one simple principle: that safe and affordable housing ought to be a human right.
“It’s an ethos that we’ve fully taken on board, and everything we do across our homelessness and rough-sleeping response – from A Bed Every Night, to the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme, and other initiatives – is geared towards that person-centred approach, learning from lived experience and supporting people to get back on their feet.”
He continued: “At a time of extreme cost-of-living pressures, when any one of our residents could be just one run of bad luck away from losing their home, this has never been more important.
“That’s also why it’s crucial that Housing First can continue helping people here in Greater Manchester and across the country, and why its core principle – the right to safe housing – needs to be written into UK law.”
Speaking at the annual Housing conference in June, Burnham said that, if he were to ever become prime minister, “policy number one” would be to make “good safe housing a human right in law”.
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.