An independent evaluation into the first Housing First project to be developed in the UK has been published.

Housing First was developed in the UK by Turning Point Scotland in response to high levels of repeat homelessness amongst people with active drug and alcohol problems in Glasgow.

The service departs from traditional approaches to homelessness by housing homeless people with complex needs directly into independent tenancies without first insisting that they progress through transitional housing programmes and or undergo treatment.  Individuals are provided with flexible, non-time limited support in their homes and communities.

As well as being the first Housing First project to be developed in the UK, it was one of the first internationally to explicitly target homeless people involved in active drug misuse.

The three-year pilot running October 2010 until September 2013, provided housing and support to 22 individuals who were homeless and actively involved in substance misuse at the point of recruitment.  The pilot was funded by Turning Point Scotland, The Big Lottery Fund and Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

The independent evaluation, funded by Turning Point Scotland was conducted by Dr Sarah Johnsen and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick from Heriot-Watt University.

The report highlights that the service is widely heralded as a success by the people it supports, staff, stakeholders in Glasgow – in large part because of the very positive housing outcomes recorded, but also because the staff team has successfully maintained positive relationships with and continued to support service users who were previously regarded as highly challenging ‘serial disengagers’.

Martin Cawley, Chief Executive of Turning Point Scotland comments;

“We are delighted with the conclusions and recommendations of the report, following the 3 year evaluation. It evidences Housing First can and does work for the ‘hard to reach’ client group.  It also highlights that by giving people a tenancy they are in a position to look at, and work on different areas of their life such as health and addictions.”

Secure housing and ongoing support provides individuals with stability to maximize their chances of ‘getting back on track’ on their journey toward recovery.

An individual supported by Housing First commented:

“Having my flat stopped me feeling as I had to go out all the time, and run about getting mad with it.”

Notes to Editor

Full report and executive summary both available to download.

For more information on Housing First and to watch videos of individuals supported by Housing First