Our Housing First service in Medway offers support to entrenched and multiply-excluded rough sleepers living in their own homes. Our customers are those people who have been unable to succeed in traditional supported housing settings.
The service makes no blanket exclusions and every referral is considered. Referrals into the services come from those known to Medway’s Rough Sleeping Team.
There are seven key principles of Housing First:
- People have a right to a home so Housing First prioritises access to housing as quickly as possible without any conditions other than the willingness to maintain a tenancy. Individuals won’t lose the tenancy if they disengage from or no longer require support.
- Flexible support is provided for as long as it is needed with housing providers committing to long-term, flexible support without a fixed end date.
- The housing and support are separate – so housing is not conditional on engaging with the support. The offer of support remains if the tenancy fails.
- Individuals have choice and control. They have the choice, where possible, about where they live. Accommodation should be pepper-potted and self-contained, unless an individual says they would prefer shared housing.
- Active engagement. Staff proactively engage clients and caseloads are small. Support provided as long as clients need it.
- The service supports people to identify their strengths and goals and to develop skills and knowledge to achieve them.
- A harm reduction approach is used – so individuals who, for example, self-harm are supported to undertake practices which minimise the risk of them self-harming.
All customers reside in their own homes and:
- Customers have their own support worker who offers flexible support at a time and location that suits the customer – at home or elsewhere in the community.
- Our staff will work with them to identify useful facilities in the local community and will support with accessing these.
- Support workers can accompany customers to appointments if required.
- Customers also receive practical advice on day-today issues such as budgeting, shopping, healthcare, maintaining a tenancy, etc.
- Telephone support is provided 24/7.
Customers successfully maintaining their tenancy is the only expected outcome of the service – any other outcomes are determined by the customer themselves.
Customers exercise choice and control over their own lives, decisions and how much support they receive. Their tenancy is not dependent on engaging with the support on offer.
Potential customers will be linked into Medway Council’s Rough Sleeping Team at some level before being referred to Medway Housing First.