Our trailblazing approach to breaking the cycle of homelessness among society’s most vulnerable

In April 2016, ICM initiated one of the first Manchester pilots of the Housing First approach to identifying and supporting people with entrenched homelessness into their own accommodation. That meant we have been securing a place to call home for those on the pilot without placing conditions (such as abstinence) on them first.

Using Housing First principles, people are asked to show only that they want to take up (and maintain) a tenancy agreement. This gives them a base from which to take control of their situation, helping professionals to provide meaningful support with long-term benefits.

Housing First is different to traditional ways of housing those experiencing multiple disadvantage, which often provide accommodation on the condition that clients commit to change. We know that with a roof over their head, our clients are more likely to keep to a programme of support and recovery – and improve their lives.

Research shows that Housing First schemes help people to maintain a tenancy for a year or more in between 80% to 90% of cases. Meanwhile, traditional approaches have the same impact around 40% of the time.

This approach has already achieved radical results in places such as Denmark, Finland and France, so we’re excited to be working with it here in Manchester.

In 2019, Greater Manchester launched a full Housing First programme led by Great Places, demonstrating the success of our pilot. Over 3 years, ICM has supported 25 people into their own tenancies, but this is not the end.

We are currently looking at new innovative solutions to address problems we faced along the way. We are exploring women-only accommodation options, shared housing models and more besides. Most importantly, our team are continuing to provide support for our Housing First tenants, while continuing to contribute to the learning around this highly effective supported housing model.

To learn more about our Housing First pilot, you can read our evaluation here

‘After 35 years without a place to call home, our Housing First team has moved a tenant into a tenancy’ – Sarah, Programme team

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