We are asking the government to fund Housing First as part of plans to end homelessness

15 July 2020

We have signed a joint statement with Housing First England, the National Federation of ALMOs, Crisis and others, to call for investment in Housing First to be included in the government’s plans for national recovery.

We are asking the government for sustainable funding to ensure that Housing First can be part of the wider plans to end rough sleeping nationally and ensure no return to rough sleeping for those affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Housing First puts homes at the core of supporting homeless people. The approach focuses on people with high support needs and histories of repeat homelessness and is centred around supporting these people to live in their own homes. The idea puts housing at the start of the recovery process, by providing someone with a base and then centring the support around that.

From the beginning of this year, we have been part of a social housing provider advisory panel on Housing First, which is facilitated by Housing First England. As part of our involvement in this panel, we have been making the case for secure funding for Housing First and what will make this approach work for housing associations.

What are we asking the government for?

  1. Long-term funding for the support services needed for 16,500 Housing First tenancies over the current government term. Long-term commitments will give many more housing associations the assurance needed to work with Housing First.
  2. A supply of suitable homes to meet the scale of need for Housing First and wider housing-led approaches to tackle homelessness. This should include funding commitments to increase the supply of housing available to people moving on from homelessness, including exploring options for tenure conversion and buying options to boost the supply of one-bed social rent homes.

What does this mean for housing associations?

We are asking for housing associations and local authorities to support the expansion of Housing First at a local level by:

  1. Working with commissioners through housing and homelessness partnerships to understand the scale of need locally and agree an allocation of tenancies to Housing First services.
  2. Making the case for a long-term funding framework for sustainable support provision.
  3. Asking local authorities and housing associations to increase flexibility in allocations practices outside of usual procedures and using a person-centred approach.
  4. Adopting and sharing best practice on the delivery of Housing First.

A number of NHF members are running Housing First programmes and there is interest in exploring this approach.

We will continue to make the case for long-term support funding to make the approach viable. We have also contributed to research on Housing First and guidance on Housing First for social housing providers in partnership with Housing First England, which will be available later this year.