Research report on how housing associations use the Housing First model and recommendations for delivery

02 December 2020

This report explores how housing associations are using the Housing First model as a means to address homelessness. We also give our recommendations for housing associations to be key delivery partners and effectively implement the model.

Key findings:

  • Housing First was an attractive model for housing associations because it aligned with organizational objectives notably on addressing all forms of housing need, and included fully funded support.
  • The main challenges were in finding suitable properties, the risks around short-term support funding, and the strength of partnership working (both internal and external).
  • The participants also mentioned issues in ensuring fidelity to the Housing First model, responsive neighbourhood management, recruitment, the time it took to establish practice and procedures, the time needed to engage with clients, and restrictions from nomination rights.
  • The success of the model was in the number of sustained tenancies, demonstrating its effectiveness in addressing homelessness, and associated support issues. As a result, many of the housing associations’ who took part in the research planned to expand their involvement.

Based on the research findings, we have made some recommendations for the implementation and delivery of the Housing First model, which include:

  • The government and commissioners should ensure contracts for support are long-term, and funded as such.
  • Housing associations should be involved in setting services up so that they can adapt policies and processes. This also means local authorities and support providers would know the number and location of homes provided and determine how Housing First fits with allocations and nominations.

Housing associations, commissioners and support providers should have clear and consistent lines of communication with external partners and internal teams to deliver Housing First.