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‘Housing First’ project sees success for long-term homeless

Town Hall and Peace Gardens with blue sky

Over thirty homeless people have been successfully housed since the council launched a scheme to reduce long-term rough sleeping in Sheffield.

The Housing First project finds homes for people who have been repeatedly homeless and has settled 38 tenants, a rate of almost two per month, since it first started in December 2020.

Sheffield City Council is providing the accommodation for this project, which relies on multi-agency support for its success.

Rachael Martin, Housing Solutions Officer, said: “It’s really exciting when we take someone to view a flat for the first time. You can see them imagining what it would be like to live there and it’s so much fun setting it up with them and making it feel like a home.”

What is Housing First?

Housing First is an international housing and support approach that helps people into a stable home and provides extensive personalised support from which to rebuild their lives. It provides support with everyday tasks like arranging health appointments, going food shopping and finding local clubs and activities.

Jonathan, known to his friends as ‘Scouse’, was sleeping rough for many years before the Housing First team helped find his current flat.

He said: “One of the reasons why I wanted to get a flat in the first place was so that I’ve got somewhere that my daughter can come to visit me and stay. And it has helped improve my relationship with her.”

The council’s Housing First project has now been guaranteed until at least May 2025 thanks to nearly £1.5 million of new funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative.

Will McGahey, Housing First Team Manager, said: “It’s satisfying to see how many people we’ve already helped especially when lots of our customers have never had a home of their own before. The team does incredible work and it’s our aim to grow and help even more people over the next few years.”

Councillor Douglas Johnson, Chair of the Housing Policy Committee, said: “Having a place to call home is an important first step for people that have been sleeping rough to begin to rebuild their lives. Housing First has already made a big difference in Sheffield and the guarantee of extra funding will allow our hard-working officers to keep helping some of the most vulnerable people for many years to come.”

“We would like to expand this project so if other housing providers and landlords are interested in getting involved, we would like to hear from them.”

How you can help

If you see someone sleeping rough in Sheffield and are concerned, you can report it either online via Streetlink, or by calling Sheffield’s Street Outreach Team on 0800 066 5358 which is free from landlines and mobiles. You can also text SOTS to 80800, followed by your message. During evenings and weekends the out of hours Housing Solutions service is on 0800 7311 689.