More than 50 homeless people helped off the streets
Fifty-three homeless people have been helped off streets in the West Midlands thanks to the Housing First initiative, new figures have revealed.
Funded through a £9.6 million grant from central government, the project is a new approach to tackling the homelessness crisis , with the West Midlands the first region in the country to trial the scheme.
First seen in Finland, Housing First works with councils, housing associations and support groups to help rough sleepers break the cycle of decline which has landed them on the streets.
Instead of only offering housing to rough sleepers once they are ‘housing ready’, the new scheme starts by putting homeless people into a home, before building a support network around them through wraparound care.
The scheme was officially launched in November last year, with a goal of helping 225 homeless people find a home each year.
And, in papers from this week’s Public Service Reform Board, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) confirmed that the scheme had so far helped 53 people find a home.
“Since November 2018, through the early adopter models mobilised by local authorities in Birmingham, Dudley , Solihull , Walsall , and Wolverhampton , there are currently 53 individuals who have been supported and accommodated through the West Midlands Housing First pilot,” the papers note.
“These are in a range of tenures including local authority, housing association and private rented sector accommodation.
“Each Local Authority across the WMCA is currently working to award and mobilise operational Housing First support provider contracts.”
The funding already received for the first year of the pilot is £1.44m, according to the WMCA, which covers the budget from award of the funds until March this year.
The second year funding will be released in April 2019 and the third year in April 2020, though the exact yearly allocations are subject to ongoing review.