The charity has backed the proposed model’s omission of the requirement to be ‘housing ready’; the report instead recommends providing people with accommodation first as a platform for change.
From there, Housing First employees would provide intensive and fully-flexible support to a small number of clients each.
The Close to Home 2021 report – supported by Wates Family Enterprise Trust – also concluded a wider rollout of Housing First would be needed for the government to achieve its goal of ending rough sleeping by 2024.
Though the report praises the government’s ambition, it states that ministers “must be more ambitious” in their work to transform the lives of people with the most complex challenges.
The report calls on the government to:
- Provide sustainable funding for a national Housing First Programme by committing £150.3m for three years to deliver 16,450 Housing First places in England
- Increase the supply of social and privately-rented homes for Housing First by using the Affordable Homes Programme; building upon and expanding the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programmme; and ensuring people who are sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation are exempt from the benefit cap
- Provide national stewardship by appointing a Housing First programme director within the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Commenting on the report, St Mungo’s CEO Steve Douglas CBE said: “We have been one of the pioneers of Housing First since its introduction in the UK, and we currently support more than 280 clients in 12 Housing First schemes in London, Brighton, Bournemouth, and Reading – with more due to start in the next few months.
“As a result of our work as frontline service providers, we know how effective the approach can be and how successful it can be for our clients.
“Its ethos of putting the individual at the heart of every service is a core value of St Mungo’s.
“However, we know the scheme is not a ‘quick fix’, and we agree with the CSJ report which highlights that it will require significant and sustained funding.”
Douglas added: “The report makes some excellent recommendations about how the scheme and its positive effects can be extended and has our support.
“And, if they are acted on, alongside Local Authorities and our other partners, we are ready deliver this rollout, which would provide vital support to some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“There is the determination and increasing momentum to end rough sleeping and homelessness, which has been evidenced clearly by what has been accomplished during the pandemic.
“And from our experience, we know that Housing First can, and should be, an integral part of achieving that.”
Image: Paolo Paradiso/Shutterstock
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