CAMDEN HOUSING FIRST, By Brian Matthews, Camden Council


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  • CAMDEN HOUSING FIRST, By Brian Matthews, Camden Council

    1. 1. Camden Housing First
    2. 2. Context – general • Two main accommodation models exist for rough sleepers and other single homeless people with support needs: – Staircase or Pathway model – Housing First model • Camden launched Hostel Pathway in 2007 • 700 beds, 19 services, 7 providers
    3. 3. Camden Hostel Pathway • Assessment stage: Initial assessment of need – up to 8 weeks • Specialist support stage: Address specific support needs (drug & alcohol (continued use/recovery), ex-offender, domestic violence) – 12-18 months • Engaging support stage: Period of stability to consider housing options – 6-12 months • Move through stage: Acquire skills and knowledge to live independently – up to 12 months
    4. 4. Context – what was the problem? • Pathway has been successful in vastly improving service quality and throughput of service users to independent living, working well with individuals willing to engage but…… • Based on premise of ‘housing readiness’ • Hard core of service users with complex needs and challenging behaviour not moving on but instead ‘doing the rounds’ between services and episodes of rough sleeping
    5. 5. How did project develop? • In 2010, Council sought bids for time limited pilots of ‘cheaper and better’ service models • SHP proposed ‘Housing First’ service for 10 individuals with multiple and complex needs unable to benefit from Pathway approach • Agreed to fund for two years as felt it could offer solution for long-stayers and generate savings in medium-long term • Hostel beds for this group: £20k per person pa • Housing First: £10k per person pa
    6. 6. Who was involved in project development? • • • • • • • LB Camden Housing Commissioning LB Camden Housing Needs SHP Safer Streets Team Other Pathway providers and stakeholders Pathway service users Private landlords
    7. 7. Project design • Housing First model was developed first in the USA • The model or variants of it has been replicated in other countries now including – Canada – Austria – Japan – Finland – Netherlands – Ireland – and the UK
    8. 8. Project design • As a model, Housing First works on the premise that: – ‘housing readiness’ is not necessary in order to access and sustain housing. – by removing this requirement some of the most entrenched and difficult individuals can be placed and maintained in independent accommodation – a high level of support is available and on offer and that whilst there is a requirement to engage around tenancy support there is no requirement around engagement with ‘treatment’
    9. 9. Housing First model – key elements • • • • • • Separation of need and treatment from housing Provision of independent self contained accommodation Harm reduction not abstinence approach Respect for choice Emphasis on inclusion and integration Conditionality only in relation to housing management i.e. must be willing to pay rent and be a good neighbour • Wrap around support and coordination 24/7 • High quality staff
    10. 10. Camden Housing First – unique design features • Set up to complement Pathway model • Aimed at people ‘stuck’ in pathway stage 2 for more than 3 years but not in significant arrears • Accommodation in private rented rather than social housing sector • Accommodation sourced by provider rather than statutory body
    11. 11. Project output and impact • September 2013 University of York evaluation report • Tenancies being sustained by individuals who would never have been considered for independence • Individuals are very willing to engage • Very positive feedback • Cost savings
    12. 12. Learning outcomes • Levels of contact and skills of staff cannot be skimped • Need for diplomacy working with other professionals who can see this by passing of systems as a threat • Sourcing properties very time consuming particularly in the current climate
    13. 13. Contact Details Brian Matthews Housing Commissioning and Partnerships Manager T: 020 7974 6371