No place like home

8th May 2019 

Two people who have experienced long-term homelessness now have a place to call their own, thanks to a new Housing First partnership.

Sovereign Housing Association, West Berkshire Council and homelessness charity Two Saints have come together to provide ten homes over the next year. Housing First in West Berkshire will support formerly homeless people experiencing complex, entrenched difficulties with a long-term place to live, by offering people a tenancy first as part of ongoing wrap-around support.

Steph Wood, Head of Supported Housing for Sovereign, said: “Housing First is a practice more widely used in Scandinavian countries, which focuses on offering homeless people a tenancy first, backed up with support, rather than asking people to address their support needs and then be ‘rewarded’ with a tenancy. 

“Close partnership working is essential for Housing First to succeed, with a team of professionals based on their individual needs offering a back up to residents in their own environment. Research across England shows that 70-90% of Housing First residents manage to maintain their tenancies, as well as making progress in other areas of their lives.”

Funding for the homes was achieved thanks to a successful grant application made by West Berks Council to the Rough Sleeping Initiative funding, offered to 83 Local Authorities across the country.  

Two Saints said: “Housing First is a forward-thinking, flexible and innovative housing model. The scheme prioritises accommodation before other support needs. Housing First provides intensive, flexible and person-centred support, ensuring clients succeed in their tenancies. Two Saints are very excited to be part of the project and able to offer a new pathway to clients.” 

Gary Lugg, Head of Development and Planning at West Berkshire Council, added: “West Berkshire Council is delighted to be able to offer the Housing First accommodation option to homeless people who, in some cases, may have been living on the streets or sleeping rough for a considerable time. In tandem with being given a home, they will receive specialist support from Two Saints to enable them to have the best chance possible to make these tenancies work and to enjoy the stability of being part of the local community.”