The Foxton Centre was one of the first organisations to adopted a Housing First approach to help meet the needs of the homeless in the city.
We have worked closely with Preston City Council and MITEC, a property management company, to develop this service over the last two years. Housing First is designed to provide open-ended support to long-term and recurrently homeless people who have high support needs. Unlike many homelessness services, Housing First provides long term support to people with on-going needs.
People using Housing First services are much more likely to have severe mental illness, poor physical health, long-term limiting illness, physical disabilities and learning difficulties than the general population.
They are often highly socially marginalised, stigmatised and lack social supports and community integration. They are likely to be economically inactive and to have histories of contact with the criminal justice system. Rates of problematic drug and alcohol use are also high.
We use a client led approach so that people using Housing First services exercise choice and have control over their own lives. Housing and support are also separated, i.e. getting access to housing and remaining in housing is not conditional on accepting support or treatment. Service users are also not expected to stop drinking or using drugs in return for accessing or remaining in housing.
Housing is also provided immediately, or very rapidly, and there is no requirement for service users to be trained to be ‘housing ready’ before they are offered a home. We operate within a harm reduction framework.
Evidence from North America and Europe shows widespread success for Housing First.