BRADFORD is set to trial an LA-style approach to homelessness to try and cut the levels of rough sleeping and get more people off the streets for good.
In preparation for the coming winter months, Bradford Council is trialling the new system which puts housing at the centre of support for vulnerable homeless people.
The Housing First Service will help rough sleepers and people struggling with addiction and mental health issues by helping them directly into homes without the need to go through hostels or other supported housing.
The approach was first developed in Los Angeles and is recognised as an effective method to supporting some of the most long-term homeless people.
The innovative model helps people with complex needs into a house and then offers them intensive support, rather than trying to address the issues before providing them with housing.
By providing a place they can call their own first, it gives people a sense of security and ownership, which helps them to address their other issues.
Very small caseloads allow support workers to provide intensive help tailored to each client’s aspirations.
Workers help their clients to get specialised support from health and counselling agencies for mental health issues or drug and alcohol problems.
Holistic support, such as help with bills or benefits, is provided independently allowing services to be easily transferred if a client needs to move.
A total of 14 homeless people from Bradford have been assessed and approved by a panel of health professionals, substance misuse specialists, housing providers and the police.
The first clients is expected to be housed in one of 16 flats in the coming weeks.
Bradford is one of just four local authorities running the government-funded LA-style programme, along with projects in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “Helping homeless people is an important priority for the Council.
“We can’t afford to wait for the government to roll out more Housing First pilots while homelessness is such an issue across the country so we’ve decided to trial it here in Bradford.
“We are finding homes for people and we’ll be providing intensive support so they can build a new life for themselves.”
Jon Royle, chief executive of the Bridge Project, added: “Housing First provides vital support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, providing them with a secure home and help in maintaining their tenancy.
“Bridge is delighted and proud to be part of this important new initiative.”