Housing First Project, One Year On
Customer News, News
It has been just over a year since the launch of the Housing First Project, a government led initiative. The project aims to support homeless people with high needs and histories of entrenched or repeat rough sleeping to live in their own homes. We have a dedicated Housing First Support Worker who has been working closely with five individuals since the project began in September 2019.
In the beginning, three individuals were identified by the Housing Options at East Staffordshire Borough Council and Burton YMCA. The first step for our support worker was to search the streets to try and locate these three individuals, by no means an easy task. Through local services such as soup kitchens, charities and talking to people within the homeless community, they were able to find where they were sleeping.
Once they were located, the next step for our support worker was to gain their trust. This was achieved through regular conversations. With no access to a mobile phone, our support worker had to actively search for these individuals on the streets of Burton each time they wanted to speak with them. Over time this persistence paid off and she was able to develop a trusting relationship with each of the three people.
It was the early morning walks that led to our support worker finding two more individuals to join the Housing First Project, bringing the total to five.
Once our support worker had built upon the relationships, the next step was to help them to prepare for a tenancy with Trent & Dove. This included assisting the individuals to obtain necessary forms of identification, starting up a bank account and applying for Universal Credit. With the necessary information and accounts in place, our support worker was able to work closely with Trent & Dove’s lettings team to find properties that suited their individual needs. Once suitable homes were found the project didn’t stop there, it was just getting started with what is potentially the hardest phase. Once the individuals were moved into their new homes our support worker then began the task of maintaining regular contact. This is to ensure that they receive the support they need in order to sustain their tenancy and reintegrate into the community.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak our support worker has been unable to visit the individuals face to face and it has been a real test to determine how they could manage with limited support. We are proud to confirm that all five individuals have continued to sustain their tenancies and our support worker has just started to work with a 6th individual for the project.