West Midlands receives £9.6m to launch rough sleeping pilot

(L-R) Carly Jones, CEO of Sifa Fireside; Housing secretary, James Brokenshire and Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street

The Government has confirmed funding worth £9.6m over three years for a project to help get rough sleepers off the streets of the West Midlands.

The pilot, based on Housing First, will be overseen by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street’s, Homelessness Task Force alongside the seven local authorities, housing providers and homelessness charities in the region.

The project will offer individuals safe, secure accommodation, alongside intensive support to help them recover from complex health issues such as substance abuse and mental health difficulties. It is based on the Housing First approach to supporting rough sleepers into long-term accommodation which originated in Finland and has proven successful in many countries.

Initially, it will seek to work with long-term rough sleepers to help them off the streets along with individuals at risk of homelessness and those with particularly challenging needs. 

Back in October, Andy Street visited Helsinki to see how Housing First has made a significant impact on rough sleeping with a view to trialling the same approach in the West Midlands. Andy said:

“Having seen Housing First in action, I can vouch for the positive impact it has on supporting rough sleepers and came back determined we trial it here in the West Midlands.

“In essence, it can provide people who are homeless with a new start, somewhere to call home. From there, they will be given support to help them rebuild their lives. Now the funding has been confirmed we will work with charities and local authorities on getting the pilot up and running.”

Across the West Midlands, specialist Street Intervention Teams will identify and work with rough sleepers who will be given support through a total of 225 tenancies each year. Jean Templeton, chair of the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force, added:

“A huge amount of work has gone into preparing the bid to Government for this pilot and we are really pleased with the outcome. Now the funding is confirmed, we can really push on.

"We’ve done a lot of the groundwork in terms of sourcing accommodation and developing the systems. Now, we are aiming to start moving individuals into Housing First tenancies within the next three to six months.”

The West Midlands is one of three areas in the country to get money to trial Housing First. Funding has also been announced for Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region.


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