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Housing First model lacks support across Europe

The Housing First model has proved successful in reducing homelessness, but it needs more political and financial support to increase the impact, says a new study led by the University of York. 

Housing First is a model designed for people who need significant levels of help to enable them to leave homelessness, using housing as a starting point.

The aim of Housing First is to immediately enable someone to live successfully in their own home as part of a community. There is also a focus on improving health, well-being and the social support networks of the people who it works with.

The Housing First in Europe study, which launched earlier this month on World Homelessness Day (October 10) is the organisation’s first-ever Europe-wide study of the model.

The study showed that while Housing First has good outcomes for people who are using the service, the support for the approach varies across different European countries.

Finland was the only country to report Housing First as its main strategic response to homelessness at a national level, and they are the only country in Europe that has a track record of reducing homelessness.

Of the 19 other countries surveyed, only eight countries reported that they received strong political support, only two countries reported having sufficient funding and eight countries reported that it was always difficult to find housing.

Professor Nicholas Pleace, director of the Centre for Housing Policy said: ‘This study shows the ways in which sharing ideas, information, and experience across Europe has helped promote and develop more effective responses to long-term and repeated homelessness among people with high and complex needs at local, regional and national levels.’

However, Samara Jones, Programme Coordinator for the Housing First Europe Hub said: ‘Sufficient, reliable funding and political support are crucial for services like this to be successfully implemented in the long term.’

In related news, the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has announced £6m of funding for Phase 2 of his homelessness scheme, A Bed Every Night.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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