GREAT Places Housing Group is to play a key role in Greater Manchester’s Housing First scheme, delivering hundreds of new homes for people previously sleeping rough in the city region.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced yesterday that Great Places has been commissioned to lead the consortium that will assist up to 400 people into their own homes, with support over the next three years. The programme is backed by £7.6 million of Government funding.
“This is the latest step on our journey,” Burnham said. “Housing First is a proven successful model. Delivering a sustainable and impactful Housing First service across Greater Manchester will be crucial if we are to make good on our promise to address the humanitarian crisis that is homelessness, and rough sleeping in particular.
“Great Places have an ambitious approach and their bold aims match ours – in this day and age no-one should be without a home and in Greater Manchester we are doing things differently, choosing to prioritise tackling homelessness as a matter of urgency.”
Great Places will work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and a host of other partner organisations to deliver “quality, secure safe places” to live across the city-region. The homes will be aimed at individuals with multiple and complex needs who are either homeless or in precarious circumstances regarding their accommodation.
“This is really good news for the region and for all the partners involved in the delivery of this project over the next three years,” said Matthew Harrison, Great Places’ chief executive.
“This is a consortium that brings significant experience, expertise, passion and commitment and is cross sectorial, bringing together housing, health, people with lived experience and the community and voluntary sector.
“It is important that we all work together across the region and tackle the scourge of homelessness in our cities and our towns.”
The Housing First programme will build on the efforts of the city region’s A Bed Every Night scheme. This is based on a pledge to provide warm, safe and supported accommodation for those sleeping on the streets every night of this winter.
So far, more than 1,400 have been helped indoors since the start of November, according to the combined authority. Of those, over 300 have already been helped to move through the system and into more secure arrangements away from the streets.
Housing First builds upon the existing Social Impact Bond (SIB), which has so far secured independent living spaces for 223 of the city-region’s previously most entrenched rough sleepers.
Burnham added: “Alongside the tremendous progress made by our A Bed Every Night and Social Impact Bond programmes, Housing First will ensure hundreds of people who currently live precarious lives will be helped to begin their recoveries and move away from homelessness. But this is a crisis situation – much needs to be done and quickly. Let’s get to work.”
Great Places will begin its work later in the year. Housing First places will be delivered in every one of the city-region’s 10 boroughs. Over time it is anticipated that the partnership will grow with more organisations bringing further accommodation in the second and third years of the scheme.
Supporting Great Places will be a number of key partner organisations. The Greater Manchester Housing First project is endorsed by the Greater Manchester Housing Partners and is a consortium of eight partners: Riverside; Regenda Homes; Jigsaw; Stockport Homes Group; Greater Manchester Mental Health; The Bond Board; and One Manchester.
Greater Manchester’s Housing First model is one of three regional pilots funded by central Government, with West Midlands’ already under way and Merseyside soon to launch.
The Housing First model uses independent, stable housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.
Housing First England state that through the provision of intensive, flexible and person-centred support, 70-90% of Housing First residents are able to remain housed. Having a place to call home also leads to improvements in people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The Housing First approach was first developed by Pathways to Housing in New York in the early-1990s. It has since been adopted in several major cities in the United States as well as in countries including Denmark, France and Finland.
The Finnish model has formed the basis of Greater Manchester’s planning – in Helsinki, the approach has cost the national government 300m euros (£260m) over the last decade. However, rough sleeping is now virtually non-existent in the capital city.