Housing First

    Housing First

    Housing First is a powerful way to end homelessness. It is an internationally recognised programme designed to support people with high and complex needs who have been unable to sustain a long-term home.

    Housing First is an internationally recognised approach to tackling homelessness for people who have been unable to sustain long-term accommodation. It provides a tenancy first as a platform for change, with intensive and flexible support to help clients address their needs at their pace. St Mungo’s is one of the largest providers of Housing First services in England, supporting 349 clients in different locations.

    Service principles

    At St Mungo’s we take the principles of Housing First and apply them by:

    • Being people centred and adaptable
    • Nurturing honest and resilient partnerships
    • Taking well-judged risks
    • Investing time and being patient

    Find out more about Housing First in the video below.

    Related content

    "Housing First is a different model because it provides housing ‘first’, on the basis of right, rather than at the end of a process as a reward. And years later the bedrock of the model remains as exciting today as it was in those early stages as we have learned, adapted and grown along the way. Our longer-term aim is for people to achieve long lasting recovery."

    Clearing House

    Clearing House

    Housing for people who have a history of sleeping rough

    The Clearing House provides supported housing in London for people with a history of rough sleeping. All properties are self-contained one-bed or studio flats and are provided by housing associations as part of the Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI).Tenants of these flats are supported by Tenancy Sustainment Teams (TSTs), who provide a floating support service.

    This service is a partnership with approximately 50 housing associations who provide the accommodation, two Tenancy Sustainment Teams to deliver the support and over 30 organisations who refer people sleeping rough from the street, hostels and other supported housing projects. The partnership is coordinated by the Clearing House on behalf of the Greater London Authority.

    The Rough Sleepers Initiative, which has been running since 1991, has resulted in over 13,000 new tenancies, and it provides exclusive access to more than 3,700 flats for current and former rough sleepers.

    Frequently asked questions

    Please speak with your key worker to discuss your suitability for the Clearing House. The service is unable to accept self referrals and only accepts referrals from commissioned services that provide support to people with experience of sleeping rough.

    Those referred must meet our eligibility criteria which include being a verified rough sleeper with a CHAIN Number, currently engaging with support and an ability to manage a tenancy with fortnightly support.

    Referrals must be made by a commissioned service that provides support to people with experience of rough sleeping. The referral process is entirely online and forms can be completed at Clearing House Online.

    For a pre-referral information pack which can be used with your client when making a referral, and maps of average waiting times please login to the online system and look in our documents library.

    If you have any questions please contact the Clearing House Helpdesk by phone on 020 3856 6008 or email at ch@mungos.org.

    We run monthly induction sessions for referral workers. These sessions provide detailed information about the service the Clearing House offer, how to make a successful referral and how the nomination process works. If you would like to book a place, please email us at ch@mungos.org.

    Our online system for making referrals, requesting nominations and managing cases can be accessed by logging in at https://clearinghouse.my.site.com. Please book mark this login address.

    If you do not currently have login credentials for the system please email ch@mungos.org to book onto an induction session.

    All policies and procedures are available in the Clearing House Library, which can be accessed by logging in to the online system.

    If you do not have access to the system please contact our helpdesk on 020 3856 6008 or email ch@mungos.org.

    Sensitive lets

    Sensitive lets are RSI properties where an appropriate match cannot be made from the Clearing House waiting list. Referral workers are able to put forward clients who would be suitable for the advertised properties under the sensitive lets process.  All clients put forward must have a CHAIN number (although it does not need to be verified); the client must also meet the eligibility criteria set out for the property.

    When sensitive lets are available, Referral workers must call the Clearing House on 020 3856 6008 at or after the date and time specified with their client’s name, CHAIN number and support needs information. If successfully booked the referral form must be submitted online within two working days. Please note that only one self-contained unit can be booked per phone call and no voicemails or emails will be accepted. Once we have a booking the next successful person to call has the option to put their client down as a reserve. If on assessment we are unable to accept the booked referral then we will contact the reserve.

    No Sensitive lets are currently available


    Related content

    "I have independence, I have pride in where I live."

    "It's fantastic to see the success and hear first-hand how working in partnership with the Clearing House can make such a positive difference to peoples' lives. Hyde is proud to have supported the Rough Sleepers Initiative for the last 25 years and we remain committed to helping homeless people into the safety and security of their own home."



    Different people need different forms of accommodation, so we have a variety of properties. People can be referred to our accommodation services through local authorities and other partners in the areas we work.

    We operate a range of accommodation services, from basic shelters or hostels, through to supported and semi-independent housing, to help people at every stage of their recovery from homelessness. We believe that people can – and do – recover from the issues that cause homelessness, and a safe and stable living environment is central to this recovery. But our accommodation is much more than bricks and mortar. Alongside having somewhere safe and secure to stay, our staff and volunteers work with our clients to understand their hopes and ambitions, helping them to take the steps they need to in order to achieve these.

    Our approach

    Our emergency accommodation helps our clients get off the streets immediately, while we help them on to the next step of their journey away from homelessness. This might be through supporting them to find a detox place, semi-independent accommodation or a private rented home.

    We also offer supported accommodation, such as Hope Gardens in Hammersmith and Fulham. The hostel has 27 beds for people who have previously slept rough in the area. There are some for when people first arrive, others offering a more traditional hostel experience, and then training bedsits, designed to help clients prepare to move on.

    We operate similar accommodation across London and the south of England, using our recovery ethos, and making the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients our top priorities.

    The impact

    Our recent Client Feedback Survey shows that 93% of people we work with are satisfied with the support they receive.

    Providing clients with regular opportunities to feedback is key to developing efficient and effective services that meet their needs. The 592 responses we received will help us to form a clearer picture of what we are doing well as an organisation, and identify key areas where we can improve.

    We own and operate properties across London and the south of England and act as a social landlord – so we’re regulated by the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH). You can read more about who the RSH are and our status as a housing association by seeing how we’re regulated.

    Care services

    Care services

    We run two registered care homes aiming to provide a high level of care to older men with complex needs, including poor physical health. These care homes provide a long term secure environment for residents who have been homeless or slept rough during their lives.

    Our care homes are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England, which ensures that services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care.

    Living on the streets can leave people with premature aging, frailty and life limiting health conditions, yet to date the needs of this group have not been well met by the social care system.

    We have seen first-hand how the right care, delivered in the right place, can be transformative in improving a person’s quality of life and supporting them to leave the streets for good. This can only be the case when that care is made available and accessible.

    Our care homes

    Palliative care

    Sadly, many people experiencing homelessness can face chronic health problems, some of which may finally lead to palliative services or hospitals. Our Palliative Care service was set up in 2008 in partnership with Marie Curie Cancer Care, and with original funding from the Department of Health.

    We support clients to make informed choices about their care, as well as supporting staff and other clients affected by the psychological and emotional aspects of approaching the end of life. We also train staff to help them deal with end of life issues including bereavement support and identifying when a client may be dying.

    An online toolkit: www.homelesspalliativecare.com – has been created by a unique research partnership between Pathway and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research department (UCL) in collaboration with St Mungo’s and Coordinate My Care.

    Mental health

    Mental health

    At St Mungo’s, we take a holistic approach to mental and physical health, addressing these issues alongside each other.

    We focus on enabling our clients to access existing mental health services as well as promoting a model of psychotherapy that is effective for people experiencing homelessness. This may be in partnership with the NHS or through our own psychotherapy provision. We also operate peer support groups which encourage clients to use their skills to help others with their resilience, confidence and mental health.


    We have long recognised that one of the most significant barriers our clients face in moving on with their lives is past and sometimes recurring trauma. St Mungo’s believes that excellent outcomes can be achieved in improving people’s wellbeing and motivating them towards recover, and that a small amount of clinical input through psychotherapy can make a significant difference in health and social care outcomes.

    We offer a number of psychotherapy practices in our services, providing flexible and humanistic talking therapy which is trauma-informed to support individuals’ recovery.

    Bereavement support

    Research by Caris shows that bereavement is cited as one of the top ten reasons why someone might become homeless. Complicated grief is something people experiencing homelessness may be more likely to encounter. This can be due to the nature of deaths they have experienced, which are often violent/traumatic, and the number of losses. This may be compounded by other losses they have suffered, including their home, their community, children being taken into care etc. Therefore, bereavement can be extremely triggering and difficult for them to process, with professional help often needed to do this. Neglected bereavement that is left unaddressed can act as a further barrier to engagement and cause isolation, suicidal ideation and other mental health problems. 

    Our Bereavement Care Coordinator provides face-to-face and over the phone bereavement support, working through recent or historic losses over a number of sessions. These can last up to a year.



    Access to effective health and care services is an essential part of the solution to long-term or entrenched homelessness, but it must be accompanied by adequate support to help people to sustain treatment and improve their health long term.

    At St Mungo’s we understand that health problems are both a cause and consequence of homelessness, and that improving our clients’ health and wellbeing is a key enabler of ending homelessness and rebuilding lives. We also know that people experiencing homelessness face significant health inequalities, both in terms of outcomes and access to services.

    The average age of death is 45.9 years for males and 41.6 years for females. This is more than 30 years below that of the general population (ONS 2020).

    There is evidence to suggest that homeless populations experience multiple barriers to accessing and utilising healthcare services. Only 67% of people sleeping rough are likely to be registered with a GP for instance, compared with 98% of the general population.

    Our approach

    Our role is to provide environments and services that both protect and promote health and wellbeing. We support our clients to improve their health, to access the services they need, and to enable clients to better manage their health conditions by helping people to be healthy, facilitating access to early treatment where needed, and ensuring that any treatment provided is the right treatment that works for them. We support our clients to build relationships and connect and coordinate the systems that they need, so they can use those relationships and services to improve their health and wellbeing, sustain accommodation and build a community around them for the long term.

    The impact

    We have particular expertise delivering support to people with ‘complex needs’ i.e. those individuals whose range of needs are unlikely to be met through the intervention of a single agency. Our staff work in trauma informed ways, recognising that relationships are an important vehicle for achieving the emotional safety which is necessary for people to start overcoming the effects of their trauma, to then engage with services. This means our services incorporate an understanding of trauma into their work, work to establish physical and emotional safety for clients, increase client choice, provide predictable environments, and support people to build on their strengths and coping mechanisms.

    As we recognise that improving our clients’ health is key to ending their homelessness, we provide a number of services and resources that enable specialist support and health promoting behaviours to be delivered in all of our client services.

    Our Client Health Excellence Standards include working in partnership with our clients and with local health providers to make informed health decisions that respect our clients’ beliefs and aspirations. We also advocate for and facilitate visits to and from local health services where possible, whilst also supporting access to community services.



    Migrants can be more at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping and can face more complex challenges to leave it behind.

    A migrant is a term for anyone who has permanently left their country of origin. There are lots of reasons why migrants might travel to the UK. They might be looking for education, employment or to re-join family, or they might be fleeing poverty, natural disaster, or civil unrest. 

    In London, 48% of individuals who are rough sleeping are migrants. Each person’s story is unique, each person brings their own skills, ambitions and hopes for the future.

    People who leave their country to seek safety from human rights abuses or persecution are called asylum seekers. Seeking asylum is a human right, and successful applicants are granted refugee status, with protection under international law.

    St Mungo’s is made up of a diverse group with volunteers, supporters and colleagues from around the world, which means we have the unique skills and experiences to support all the different people we help in our goal to end homelessness for good.

    Migrant Accommodation Pathways Support service (MAPS)

    MAPS supports any non-UK nationals rough sleeping or at immediate risk of it, across London. We work to identify and clarify our clients’ entitlements, accommodation options, and work with other professionals to help them out of homelessness.

    Roma Rough Sleeping Team

    The Roma Rough Sleeping Team’s aim is to ensure no-one from the Roma community has to sleep rough in London. We work with partners across the statutory, voluntary and faith based services​.

    Our policy on how we support non-UK nationals who are rough sleeping

    At St Mungo’s, we believe that rough sleeping can be ended by 2026. Essential to ending rough sleeping and homelessness is supporting non-UK nationals to find sustainable routes off the street.

    We are committed to providing quality assessments and access to immigration advice to ensure every client fully understands their rights and entitlements. We support every client to explore all possible routes into housing, regardless of their nationality, immigration status or entitlement to benefits.

    We do not share any information about our clients with the Home Office without the client’s full and informed consent. We only ask for consent to share information with the Home Office in very limited circumstances where the client has immigration advice in place and only for the purpose of achieving a positive outcome for the client.

    At St Mungo’s we are committed to supporting people sleeping rough to find sustainable routes off the streets. For many non-UK nationals we work with this includes exploring options and entitlements in the UK as well as sustainable options abroad. 

    Immigration law is complicated and poor quality advice can have significant consequences for the individual involved. As a result, St Mungo’s is committed to ensuring our clients gain access to appropriate and independent immigration advice so that they can make informed choices. St Mungo’s is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and authorised to provide immigration advice and services up to OISC Level 1 (limited to the EU Settlement Scheme only).

    In addition we are able to support our clients to access a range of external immigration advisers and solicitors ensuring people with more complex immigration matters get the most appropriate advice, and are fully informed of the options available to them.       

    Where necessary we also provide advice and support regarding international reconnection. For some people, returning to their country of nationality, or another country in which they have entitlements, can be the most sustainable route out of rough sleeping. Support to reconnect is always offered on a voluntary basis and we will never share information with the Home Office for the purposes of reconnection without the client’s full and informed consent.

    With the client’s full and informed consent, we may share information, but only in a very limited set of circumstances, and only when it is necessary to support an individual: 

    • When someone requires support to make a Subject Access Request to the Home Office.
    • When someone has had immigration advice and is seeking support to make an asylum support application.
    • When someone has had immigration advice and is seeking support to apply for the Home Office voluntary returns service.
    • When someone has instructed an OISC registered St Mungo’s immigration adviser to act on their behalf and the data sharing occurs in this context

    Our consent forms are easy to understand and clearly list the information that will be shared, who this information will be shared with and the specific purpose of sharing information. Where needed interpreting services and/or translated documents are used to ensure people are able to offer informed consent.

    Sharing information with the Home Office can have significant consequences for people with irregular migration status. Restricting the sharing of information with the Home Office on a consent basis in this way ensures that information is only shared if the person has been fully informed about the potential benefits and drawbacks of sharing this information. 

    Under certain very limited circumstances St Mungo’s may be legally obliged to provide information to the Home Office. Specifically, St Mungo’s may have a legal obligation to:

    • Provide information to the Home Office under the “right to rent” legislation. This legislation applies to our Real Lettings service only, as our other services are exempt from right to rent checks 
    • Share information with immigration officers if they ask to speak to a specific person and have the necessary warrant or authorisation. 

    St Mungo’s is not registered with the Home Office Rough Sleeping Support Service and will not participate in this scheme. 

    Domestic Abuse Navigators Hackney

    Domestic Abuse Navigators, South London and Hackney

    The Domestic Abuse Navigators are co-located within St Mungo’s ‘women’s safe’ accommodation across South London and Hackney.

    This service supports women who have historic or current experience of domestic abuse and are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. At least two thirds of the clients accessing this service experience severe and multiple disadvantage.

    Building trust and relationships

    Domestic abuse survivors experiencing multiple disadvantage often have to manage their own safety whilst navigating complex systems, encountering gaps between their needs and service offers. This service bridges this gap by providing personalised, continuous support to survivors as they move through accommodation pathways. Each Navigator is a single point of contact for their clients and the services working with their clients. They work to gradually build meaningful, trusting relationships with their clients, providing support around domestic abuse and other matters that may be barriers to their recovery.

    Immediate safety

    After an incident or disclosure of domestic abuse, the Navigator will support clients with a primary focus on immediate safety. They review risk to the client and manage referrals of high risk clients to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) where appropriate. The Navigators support referrals to specialist agencies, and create plans with the client to address support needs and decrease risk of re-victimisation.

    Engaging with support

    The Navigators connect to and coordinate with multiple services that are involved in the client’s support. This means working with local agencies such as substance misuse services, probation officers, psychologists, and health services. They can share information between services to find the best way to support the client and keep them engaged in services.

    Person-centred planning

    Clients can experience high levels of anxiety when moving between accommodation services, because they might need to start fresh with assessments, building relationships with new lead workers and getting to know a new area. Transitions between services are also a time of increased risk. The Navigators co-produce person centred move-on plans, considering each individual’s barriers and strengths. They ensure clients maintain their support network as they move and can support them while they adapt to their new circumstances.

    Nova Project Reading

    Nova Project, Reading

    The Nova Project is a ten bed accommodation service specifically for women. The service was developed by St Mungo’s in collaboration with Reading Borough Council in 2020 in response to an identified need for a specialist service for women.

    We aspire to achieve equally positive outcomes with our female clients, recognising that they experience homelessness differently from men, bearing the burden of gender-based harassment, abuse and violence. The project is first and foremost a safe space for women, providing a secure place to start the process of recovery from homelessness, and one day to move on. There is no fixed timeline for clients’ stay at the Nova Project, meaning individuals can stay as long as needed.

    Gender-informed support

    The service offers gender-informed, individualised and intensive support to our clients, many of whom have experienced severe traumas such as domestic violence. Clients in the Nova Project have often been in and out of other services, have long histories of sleeping rough, may have been sex working, and may have been unable to sustain a tenancy. This project has had proven success in supporting women to break these cycles; to date there has been only one eviction from the service.

    A multi-agency approach

    The project embraces a multi-agency approach to understand specific clients’ needs and how best to help individuals. There are also in-reach services to improve accessibility. The project works with other local service providers to provide specialist support to its residents, including health outreach, budgeting support, substance use services and tenancy sustainment. Where required, additional support can be provided by St Mungo’s women only Navigator and the innovative new Complex Couples Pathway, which offers women supported move on options with their partner, in line with client wishes and where appropriate. The service also organises activities to support wellbeing and life skills, including gardening and ‘Arty Afternoons’.

    Lived experience

    Recognising the value of lived experience, the Nova Project will soon benefit from peer support volunteers alongside its trained staff. This invaluable contribution will allow for clients to connect with and be supported by other women with similar life experiences and challenges, who have been able to recover and move on.

    Women’s Safe Space Camden

    Women's Safe Space, Camden

    Safe Space is an approach co-developed by St Mungo’s and the London Borough of Camden to explore and implement new ways of working with women experiencing homelessness and multiple disadvantage.

    This approach can be adopted by any team (mixed gendered or single sex services) working with women with multiple disadvantage. It can also benefit male clients and support staff. Safe Space is a culture of understanding how trauma, gender and the effects of multiple disadvantage impact our clients’ experience, while acknowledging sexism and inequality within wider society.

    Understanding trauma

    We do this through the whole team being trained on gender and trauma, PIE, trauma informed care and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Moving away from an outcomes based approach, instead focusing on offering time and space for clients to stabilise and build trust in services.


    Safe Space recognised that if a client doesn’t trust our service she is unlikely to engage with the service offer. Relationships with clients are therefore at the centre of everything the team do. Lead workers offer meetings in a relaxed and informal way.

    Choice and control

    Offering choice to our clients, we are able to build trust and show ourselves to be non-paternalistic in our care. As a service provider, we can often mimic ‘perpetrator like’ behaviours, e.g. by asking about their drug use. This may feel harassing or invasive to our clients who have experienced trauma. Allowing clients to choose certain options, building choice into many aspects of service, like lead worker, meal planning and meeting locations.

    What's the impact?

    As part of the Safe Space service, we worked with the London Borough of Camden to produce a specific eLearning for all staff working in Camden’s Adult Pathway. This was based on research into the experiences of women in the homelessness pathway in the borough.

    The Women’s Safe Space has been key in lifting the voices of women accessing services in Camden and helping to share our support. Our service has developed and changed with the understanding of women’s experiences – what we have learned, and continue to learn, will inform how services are developed and delivered in future.