Housing First

There is growing interest in an approach called ‘Housing First’. Originating in New York as an alternative to the emergency shelter provision that is the norm in the USA, the Housing First approach is based on helping people with complex needs to secure a tenancy first along with a long term and flexible package of support around them.

St Mungo’s has been at the forefront of designing, implementing and running Housing First projects in the UK.

We’re one of the largest providers of Housing First services in England, currently supporting over 150 clients in eleven different locations. Our services are in Bournemouth, Brent, Brighton, Camden, Ealing, Essex, Haringey, Hammersmith and Fulham, Reading, Tower Hamlets and Westminster.

We are gathering and analysing evidence about how this model can work well for some people and we support the government’s intention to further pilot Housing First at larger scale as part of the pathway to help people of the streets.

In our Brighton Housing First project, for example, Stephen and his team work with ten people, building support around each individual, all of whom have experienced long term street homelessness. Once they are in a home, this can be an opportunity to work with them personally on their next ambitions, or around any health conditions.

Stephen said: “Personalisation for me is about getting the specific things an individual person needs to progress – for example, clothes that fit so they can feel confident, maybe to apply for work. It’s about what makes the support meaningful for each individual.

“One way we’ve been able to be creative and save money is through working with other voluntary sector organisations who have given grants to improve our service users’ homes. We were recently able to redecorate one client’s flat in their favourite colours. They said that they feel even more at home now.”

Read more about supported housing and Housing First on our blog.
You can also read about how we’re sharing learning about the Housing First service in the US.

For further information please contact Anne-Julie Burdet Anne-Julie.Burdet@mungos.org.