Supporting the Housing First Pilots
In 2018 the Government launched three national pilots for Housing First in England. Housing First is a policy that offers unconditional, permanent housing as quickly as possible to homeless people and rough sleepers with complex needs, on the basis that a foundation of housing stability will better enable people to address their often complex support needs. It was first developed in New York in the 1990s, and has gained popularity as a housing led solution to entrenched rough sleeping.
The national pilots are being evaluated by the Government with final evaluation reports due at the end of the pilots in 2024/5.
Campbell Tickell was commissioned by two of the three national pilots to carry out local evaluations to see what lessons could be learned and applied to the pilots. We carried out the local evaluations for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA).
Each evaluation required us to work closely with the combined authorities and the partner local authorities to explore:
- How multi-agency partnerships were working to address the multiplicity of people’s needs;
- How trauma informed support was being provided and staff supported to work with the client group;
- The access to and availability of social housing and private rented sector tenancies for rough sleepers with complex needs and what could be done to improve this.
Our evaluations included modelling of flows and caseloads and value for money assessments:
- Our research for WMCA found that the quicker people are housed the less staff time is required to support individuals, going from an initial ratio of full time equivalent staff member to 6 clients (1:6 ratio) to 1:7 or 1:8 in latter years.
- The pilot has enabled us to develop a model for testing out the assumptions made in the original 2017 Liverpool City Region research on Housing First. With our modelling broadly confirming the rates for graduation at 17.5% over a five year programme and continued need for Housing First support for 77.5% of people, beyond five years. Housing First therefore must be seen as a long-term intervention which for every £1 invested could generate £1.56 in savings. Our modelling also demonstrates that a sustained long term Housing First programme could reduce the flows into Housing First services and caseload over five years by 9%.
- For the LCRCA evaluation, our Value for Money assessment found that Housing First is approximately 3.5 times as effective in enabling the target group to secure and sustain a tenancy compared to the case if Housing First had not been available. While Housing First does incur higher costs, the higher service effectiveness demonstrated that Housing First is twice as cost-effective as the alternative in achieving tenancy stability. In short Housing First costs more than the counterfactual but it achieves twice as much per pound spent in terms of tenancy outcomes.
Our work was disseminated through a webinar held with all three national pilot areas (the third being Manchester City Region) in 2022 and all the resources and the webinar can be accessed here.
Neelam Sunder, Senior Programme Manager at West Midlands Combined Authority said:
“Campbell Tickell was commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Homelessness Taskforce to carry out an action research project into our Housing First pilot, which is one of three national Housing First pilots in England.
Our main aim was to identify and articulate the learning and insights from the regional pilot to inform local plans for a sustainable approach to Housing First beyond the pilot period.
The Campbell Tickell team were really flexible and responsive to the evolving needs of the project and worked closely with the Housing First teams in each of our Local Authorities, as well as with the Housing First Steering Group and Operational Group to deliver a really top class report and a shorter executive summary for wider circulation.
The Campbell Tickell team combined a real understanding of the Housing First principles and wider structural housing and homelessness challenges. They more than delivered what we wanted from the research and were great to work with!”
If you would like to discuss our work on the evaluations or need support to establish or evaluate your Housing First service, please contact Liz Zacharias, Director on: +44 (0)20 8830 6777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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