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Housing First

Inspiring Change Manchester is excited to be piloting Housing First in Manchester for our clients. Housing First ends homelessness for those with high support needs who have experienced recurrent homelessness by offering permanent accommodation together with personalised wrap-around support to help sustain the tenancy..

Until now, a ‘stepped approach’ has required tenants to progress through different types of accommodation-  from hostels to shared accommodation and beyond – before being  awarded their own tenancy, if they can comply with certain terms and conditions.

Housing First gives that permanent home straight away.

It uses a harm reduction rather than abstinence approach. It does not penalise clients who struggle to stop drinking or using drugs (although clients are strongly encouraged to reduce their intake in these areas). Clients are treated as any other tenant; tenancies are lost for the same reasons that any tenancy would fail.  A Housing First tenant becomes indistinguishable from any other tenant. And these are clients who may have never held a tenancy successfully or who have been street homeless for decades.

We’re excited because this approach has been used and extensively evaluated across the world – and it works. 80-90% of clients housed through Housing First are still housed 12 months later – as opposed to around 40% from a stepped approach. The programme has been shown to work in countries with low levels of homelessness and a large welfare state (eg, Denmark) and those where homeless rates are high and the state support is minimal (eg, Portugal).  Housing First is the National Response to homelessness in a number of countries including France, Finland and the USA.  In the UK, successful projects are already working in Glasgow, Newcastle and London, where the housing markets differ widely.

The question we are testing is – could it work here in Manchester?

A strong cross-sector project team has been formed (see our photo at the top!) and Housing First will go live from 1st April 2016 We are hoping to use properties in the private and social sector, and clients will start to be identified in the next couple of months.

If you would like to know any more please contact me in the  ICM Programme Team – tel:0791 704 6534.

UPDATE January 2018 – you can read more about the Housing First Pilot, and see the interim reports in in this blog.


  • commented on August 10, 2017 by steve

    Hi can i ask how is this working are your outcomes as positive as you thought they would be?

    • commented on August 15, 2017 by Sarah Walters

      Hi Steve Thanks for your question; I’ve sent you an email response with some information, hope that helps!

  • commented on August 23, 2017 by John Wigley

    Hi Sarah, i would also love to know how well the scheme is going. Could you send me the information as well? Many thanks

    • commented on August 23, 2017 by Sarah Walters

      Hi John
      yes of course – I’ve emailed you separately although we will be having an interim evaluation later this autumn which I can share.

  • commented on January 11, 2018 by Diana Maughan

    Hi Sarah, I’ve just picked up on this and be interested in the outcomes from your interim evaluation last autumn.

    • commented on January 15, 2018 by Sarah Walters

      Hi Diana thanks for your interest in Housing First. I’ll forward you a copy of the interim evaluations directly to your email address.
      regards, Sarah

  • commented on January 30, 2018 by Andrew Walker

    Hi Sarah, I’d be very interested to have a look at the evaluations too if possible

    • commented on January 30, 2018 by Sarah Walters

      Hi Andrew Of course. I’ll forward you the interim evaluations. Thanks for your interest! Sarah

  • commented on February 8, 2018 by Beth Thomas

    Hi Sarah,
    I would also be very interested to see the evaluations if possible?

    • commented on February 8, 2018 by Sarah Walters

      Hi Beth
      The link to both reports are on the Blog from 15th December – Housing First Interim Reports. Let me know if you need further information. Thanks for your interest! Sarah

  • commented on January 21, 2019 by Mark

    A brilliant idea.

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