William Eichler 28 July 2021

Metro mayors call for extension of housing pilot scheme

Metro mayors call for extension of housing pilot scheme image

The metro mayors for Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and West Midlands have joined forces to call for an extension of the Housing First pilot scheme.

Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram and Andy Street believe that the three Housing First pilots in their areas have been making a significant contribution to tackling homelessness. They said that 96% of those who benefited from the scheme had come straight off the streets, 25% before they were 18 years old.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government today published their second evaluation report of the pilots. At the end of February 2021, the pilots had collectively recruited 904 individuals, 123 of whom (13.6%) left or passed away.

A total of 534 individuals had been housed; 148 of them had been housed for six to 12 months, 149 for between 12 and 24 months and 26 for between 24 and 36 months. One individual had been housed for over 36 months.

The majority (56%) had been housed in registered provider properties, and just 4% in the private rented sector.

The three metro mayors want the Government to extend funding for the pilots and for the Comprehensive Spending Review to include cross-departmental sustainable funding to ensure people on the programmes are supported and don’t risk returning to rough sleeping.

‘We all know homelessness is the ultimate exclusion, and rough sleeping is at the sharpest end of that. Thankfully we’ve made real progress in tackling rough sleeping across the West Midlands in recent years thanks to some brilliant collaborative work – but there is still so much more to be done,’ said Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands.

‘One of the keys to our success so far has been Housing First, which gives some of the most challenged people in society safety and security, and the belief that change is possible. By combining a home with skilled intensive support for as long as is needed, the programme has made a real difference to hundreds of people’s lives in the West Midlands.’

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham commented: ‘When I first took office, Greater Manchester was struggling to cope with a growing homelessness crisis. Since then, a range of local policies I’ve introduced, and national policies have helped turn this around and Housing First is one of them.

‘Housing First works and it works well. The success of our pilots speaks for themselves and that’s why I want the Government to extend funding for the existing programmes and then provide sustainable funding to roll it out as a national policy as we work together to achieve our ambition to end rough sleeping.’

Steve Rotheram, metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: ‘There has been an alarming rise in homelessness over the past decade, as austerity stripped away many of the safety nets that some relied on. Through these Housing First pilots, we have collectively shown that there is a better, more humane way of treating people.’

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