Call for evidence from people with lived experience of using Housing First services
For its fifth year the APPG for Ending Homelessness is holding an inquiry into Housing First, focusing on how it should be scaled up in England.
Housing First is an internationally recognised method of ending homelessness for people with multiple and interlocking needs, such as trauma, mental health needs, addiction or entrenched street homelessness. It has become a key part of the response to homelessness across the world, and is being piloted in England.
This inquiry will be held at a time when the importance of a safe and secure home has been thrown into sharp focus with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and following the Westminster Government's commitment to expand Housing First provision across England.
The APPG is keen to better understand the experiences of people who have been homeless and have direct experience of using Housing First services. Your answers will provide important evidence for our report and help make the case that everyone who needs a Housing First offer should be able to access it.
If you have direct experience of Housing First services, we would very much welcome your answers to the below questions:
Please say if you are happy to be named or if you prefer for your experiences to remain anonymous. All the information we collect is stored securely and is treated confidentially and will only be used with your consent.
1. Personal testimony- Where it all began:
- What were you doing and what was your housing situation prior to experiencing homelessness?
- What caused you to become homeless?
- What were your immediate feelings and reactions to being homeless?
2. Experiences of homelessness services
- Did you seek out any support after becoming homeless?
o If so, whom did you go to? (council, local charity, friends and family, citizens advice, for example)
o How did you hear about them?
- What were you hoping and expecting when you were seeking help?
- How did you find the support?
o What was good about it?
o What was not so good about?
- What kind of help did you really need at the time?
3. Learning about Housing First?
- How did you hear about Housing First?
o What were your initial thoughts and hopes about it?
- How were you referred to Housing First?
o What your feelings about this?
o Did you have to wait long before being able to take up your Housing First place?
- If you were not referred to Housing First, why was this and how did it make you feel?
4. Experiences of Housing First
- How did you feel on your first night in your own place?
- How well were you prepared for and supported in those first few days in your place?
- What was good or bad about this?
- How did you find the support you received in Housing First?
- Thinking about your overall experiences of Housing First, what has it meant for you in terms of being able to move on with your life (in terms of work, personal life, find somewhere else to live), if has it enabled you to do so, since becoming homeless?
- How long did you stay living within a Housing First scheme? If you have left, what why did you and where are you know?
- What makes Housing First distinct from other support or services you have accessed or received in the past including any other homeless accommodation you may have stayed in?
- Thinking about your experiences of Housing First overall, what worked well? (e.g. the referral, type and nature of support received, responsibility you were given)
- Thinking about your experiences of Housing First overall, what did not work well? (e.g. finding suitable affordable accommodation, support received, COVID restrictions, being on your own for the first time)
- Central to the idea of Housing First is the idea that everyone has a right to a safe and secure home of their own.
o To what extent do you think this idea is important in addressing homelessness?
o Should this principle play a role in other areas of policy related to homelessness?
Please explain your answer in your own words.
- Is Housing First a policy that Government should look to invest in and make more widely available? Please explain your answer.
6. Looking forward
- Where are you currently living and what are you doing?
- To what extent do you feel Housing First contributed to this?
- What are your hopes for the future?
- Finally, do you have anything else you would like add about Housing First and your experiences?
How to submit your answers:
To submit your answers to these questions, please email them to Emily Batchelor at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 16th March 2021. Please say if you are happy to be named or if you prefer for your experiences to remain anonymous. All the information we collect is stored securely and is treated confidentially and will only be used with your consent.