City of Wolverhampton Council is one of a number of authorities in the West Midlands delivering the Housing First pilot scheme - and successfully reached its target of achieving 44 tenancies by June 2021.
The project’s aim is to find someone a home first and foremost and then assess what support can be offered to help them maintain a tenancy and achieve other ambitions at their own pace.
Housing First helps people who have run out of options and have a history of substance misuse, childhood traumas, mental health issues or who have been in and out of the system for years and have been unable to be helped in other ways.
In Wolverhampton, the Housing First team is made up of support workers from the Council’s housing arms length management organisation, Wolverhampton Homes, and the Good Shepherd, who provide the intensive support to those on the programme.
There are now 48 people on the programme in Wolverhampton, with 44 already supported into their own tenancies.
One resident has slept rough in the city over the last 10 years, and historically refused to engage with any services - but is now secure in his own tenancy.
Success has also been achieved with residents through treatment services for drug and alcohol addictions, with rehab places offered as a priority as part of the programme.
Other individuals have also been supported to reconnect with family and are now taking steps towards living independently.
Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, said: “This is a really great achievement and has involved a lot of hard work by the Council’s Housing First team, Wolverhampton Homes, Good Shepherd and wider third sector partners.
“We will continue to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives. We have a clear message that no one needs to sleep out on our city streets.
“Many of those who are homeless have complex needs, including physical and mental health problems. Our Public Health and Housing teams’ partnership approach with homelessness organisations across the city is delivering positive results and the lessons learnt from the pandemic experience will play a major part in how we shape this service going forward.
“We will continue to actively work with partner agencies to find longer term solutions for preventing someone from becoming homeless in the first place.”
Wolverhampton’s rough sleepers count hit a record low of 4 earlier this year and remains in single figures.
And last month the Council’s Cabinet approved the implementation of a Single Persons Accommodation Project aimed at establishing a multi agency team in a city centre base to further support rough sleepers.
Council owned Bond House in Bond Street is proposed as the location and, subject to planning approval and funding being secured, the vacant building will be converted into an Assessment Centre and 24 units of accommodation, including 8 wheelchair accessible apartments.