Developing effective housing management in Housing First
As we know, homes are integral to the Housing First approach, with the availability of housing proving one of the biggest barriers to the successful implementation of a high fidelity service. Last year, Housing First England had a focus on social housing supply and landlord involvement in the delivery of Housing First. Through this work, we learned a lot about good practice and what works well.
We have seen some positive changes in England over the last three years, and in our recent Picture of Housing First research, found that the use of social housing has increased to 81% (compared to 61% in 2017) and the use of the private rented sector has decreased to 35% (compared to 57% in 2017). Whilst we are delighted to note this strategic commitment to Housing First, we wanted to find out what it means for frontline housing management teams.
The reality is, there can be understandable tensions between housing teams and support providers due to the fact that Housing First is a new and innovative approach which takes time to both understand and implement well.
One of the challenges is the different approaches to risk and anti-social behaviour. Typically housing management teams take a punitive approach, following strict policies and procedures, which is not in keeping with Housing First. Linked to this is how a resident’s behaviour is understood including any underlying trauma. Some of the challenges are more practical like the allocation of accommodation and navigating issues such as arson or previous rent arrears. Overall, we have heard that energy and focus is needed to slowly shift practice to ensure the partnership can work effectively.
To support this, we recently commissioned the development of new resources to support housing management teams, in consultation with 17 social landlords in England who are involved in the delivery of Housing First. The three new good practice guides are:
These guides highlight some of the top tips from social landlords and include great ideas about how to improve partnership working. For example:
- Proactive risk management e.g. enhanced fire safety measures, mediating complaints with neighbours and helping residents to manage their front door with video doorbells
- Co-creating service level agreements between the support provider and social landlord
- Housing management teams engaging in trauma-informed care training
- Developing shared language to prevent misunderstanding
- Identifying single points of contact and ensuring regular communication and information sharing
If you would like to read more you can download the guides from the Housing First England website where you can also find our other resources on developing and delivering high fidelity Housing First.
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