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City region wins £9.9m to continue pioneering Housing First scheme

  • Housing First funding secured until 2025
  • The radical programme supports more than 200 people across the city region
  • Funding secured for other Initiatives to tackle homelessness

The Liverpool City Region’s ground-breaking Housing First programme, which has helped hundreds of local people out of homelessness, is to continue its pioneering work after Mayor Steve Rotheram secured £9.9m to maintain the scheme until at least 2025.

Based on successful schemes from around the world, the region’s Housing First project takes a radically different approach to helping the homeless – a departure from the UK’s traditional strategy.

The pilot is currently supporting 220 people in the Liverpool City Region with nearly 90% sustaining their tenancy.

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:

“The measure of any decent society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. There has been an alarming rise in homelessness over the past decade, while the ongoing cost of living crisis is forcing many into homelessness and destitution as they struggle to make ends meet. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

“Since I was elected, I’ve made it a priority to radically change the way that our region helps rough sleepers. Treating people with dignity, recognising that they are human beings not statistics, and offering them wraparound support to deal with often very complex needs, we’re helping to provide a safety net in these hard times.

“We’re showing how, with a coordinated – and compassionate – approach, we can end some of the worst forms of homelessness once and for all and build a better, fairer future for the 1.6 million people who call the Liverpool City Region their home – a place where no one is left behind.”

The new funding will also support other initiatives to tackle homelessness in the city region.

Funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the programme is one of just three pilot schemes in the country and will continue for the next three years with £4.2m funding until 2024 and a further £2.6 million earmarked from the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) taking the programme through to 2025.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will also receive a further £2m from the RSI for other measures to tackle homelessness. £1.2m will help prevent homelessness through early intervention, and nearly three quarters of a million pounds will fund the assertive outreach programme delivered by homeless charity Whitechapel targeting rough sleepers in the city region.

Cllr Graham Morgan, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Framework said:

“This funding will enable us to build on the success we’ve already seen from our Housing First pilot. The programme supports people who have lived through some of the most complex and entrenched experiences of homelessness which often span many years – so it’s crucial this work continues.

“Housing First in the Liverpool City Region is creating systemic change. It’s a complicated process but it’s showing that by taking an alternative approach we will end up achieving much more in the battle to end homelessness.”

In January, Mayor Steve Rotheram announced plans to partner with Resonance, an investment fund that seeks to address societal issues such as homelessness, to invest £6m to buy 60 properties to provide long-term homes for homeless people in the Liverpool City Region.

The Combined Authority is waiting for confirmation of another £1m bid, to enable a further 18 properties to be purchased specifically for women who have, or are likely to, sleep rough.

Housing First uses a different approach to end repeat and chronic homelessness. In traditional homeless services, people are expected to demonstrate they are ‘housing ready’ before they can access a tenancy. In Housing First, providing a home is the starting point rather than an end goal.

It then provides individual, targeted support to deal with mental and physical health issues such as addiction and the effects of trauma and abuse.

The programme offers intensive one-to-one unconditional support based on the seven Housing First principles. Research shows the effectiveness of the programme is linked to how closely it adheres to the principles.