The Council has announced 30 properties have been secured for the Housing First scheme, which will be used to permanently house vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove. This is vital support for some of the city’s rough sleepers as the cold winter months start to draw in.
Housing First, which was first introduced under the Green council in 2016, targets those who have been failed by more traditional methods for tackling homelessness. Once identified as highly vulnerable, recipients will be provided with accommodation as well as specialist support, with the aim to help them get their lives back on track.
Brighton and Hove City Council received the highest sum of government money awarded to any individual council as part of the ‘Next Steps’ accommodation programme bid, which included a request for extra funding for Housing First placements in the city.
The Housing First scheme has already proved to be a great success. Studies show that the support provided to people as part of the scheme can be up to five times more effective in preventing homelessness than other approaches.
This announcement marks a continuation of good work started during the first lockdown as part of the ‘Everyone In’ campaign, which saw the council book hundreds of rooms in hotels and guesthouses – and for a while in university halls of residence – for rough sleepers and those at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
The Council hope that the new funding will help provide an estimated 65 rough sleepers with housing and support. This is over 5 times more than were being helped 18 months ago, when the Greens first pledged a trebling of provision as part of their manifesto pledge to tackle homelessness.
Councillor David Gibson, Green co-chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, commented:
“Housing First is a scheme that has proven to be one of the best approaches to help entrenched homeless people with complex needs break the endless ‘revolving door’ cycle of homelessness.”
Councillor Alex Phillips, homelessness lead and member of the Housing Committee added:
“Accommodating rough sleepers needs to be done appropriately, and for many people, it’s not simply about providing them with four walls. That’s why I’m thrilled that today we have more than doubled what is known as Housing First.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has left many in dire financial situations, facing unemployment, eviction and debt. UK unemployment is likely to reach 2.6 million, an increase of 1 million, by the middle of 2021, according to the government’s economic watchdog – 7.5% of the working age population. Schemes like Housing First are going to be vital if we are to protect the most vulnerable people in society.