Funding for 30 properties to re-house and rehabilitate vulnerable people has been secured with the help of a group of Green Councillors, with Brighton and Hove City Council receiving the largest sum of government money of any individual council for the expansion of the programme.
Delivered by charity Homeless Link, which has been promoting and growing a national movement of the homelessness prevention model since 2016 by working with national and local governments, the Housing First programme has long been a key part of the Brighton and Hove Greens’ manifesto.
Among the Green Councillors that pushed for further funding of the scheme under the Next Steps accommodation bid are Cllr David Gibson, Green co-Chair of the Housing Committee and homelessness lead Cllr Alex Phillips.
Cllr David Gibson commented: “Housing First is a scheme that has proven to be one of the best approaches to help entrenched homeless people with complex needs break the endless ‘revolving door’ cycle of homelessness.”
Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing First scheme is a joint commitment between Labour and Greens, and aims to re-house and rehabilitate the city’s homeless population in accommodation in which residents receive specialist support with managing mental and physical health needs.
Since joining the Council in 2015, Gibson says he has ‘relentlessly pushed’ for the expansion of the Housing First programme. Alongside the joint Labour and Green housing programme, the Greens independently pledged to treble the previous provision of 12 places. With the new grant support from the government, the Council will be able to offer placements to 65 people – more than five times the original number.
Cllr Gibson continued: “We now expect to be able to achieve around 65 placements for multiple and complex needs rough sleepers over the next three years; with support in place to give them the best possible chance to turn their lives around. The decision made by the Housing Committee means 30 rough sleepers brought in off the streets by the council in the pandemic will be rehoused securely and long-term.
“I can’t express how pleased I am with this, but there is still a long way to go to sustainably rehouse all the rough sleepers that were willing to come in during the pandemic – particularly as not all accept offers of accommodation and will need extra help. We remain focused on this and will continue to lobby for support for schemes we know can offer the help that many need to avert rough sleeping.”
Cllr Alex Phillips added: “Accommodating rough sleepers needs to be done appropriately, and for many people, it’s not simply about providing them with four walls. That’s why I’m thrilled that today we have more than doubled what is known as Housing First.
“The Housing First approach is much more holistic than simply providing accommodation, but it goes much further by providing people with complex needs a secure tenancy with a long term and flexible package of support around them. It is this approach that helps people to turn their lives around. This is excellent news, and hopefully we will build on it further with many more Housing First units in the future.”