A three-year project that aims to rehouse over 400 homeless people starts today (1 April) with the first phase of Greater Manchester Housing First (GMHF) roll out across the region.

In February this year, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced that Great Places Housing Group, would lead a consortium to deliver the city-region’s pioneering Housing First scheme.

The GMHF project will be delivered across every local authority area in the region starting in Oldham, Stockport and Tameside today led by housing associations Jigsaw Homes Group and Stockport Homes.

The GMHF project is endorsed by the Greater Manchester Housing Partnership and is a consortium of eight partners: Riverside; Regenda Homes; Jigsaw Homes Group; Stockport Homes Group; Greater Manchester Mental Health; The Bond Board; One Manchester and Great Places.

By the end of June the model will be rolled out across Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Salford, Trafford and Wigan.

Overtime it is anticipated that the partnership will grow with more organisations coming on board and bringing online further accommodation in years two and three.

GMHF is one of three regional pilots funded by central Government, with West Midlands already under way and Merseyside soon to launch.

The Housing First model uses independent, stable housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.

Housing First England states that through the provision of intensive, flexible and person-centred support, 70-90% of Housing First residents are able to remain housed – having a place to call home also leads to improvements in people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Housing First approach was first developed by Pathways to Housing in New York in the early-1990s. It has since been adopted in several major cities in the United States as well as in countries including Denmark, France and Finland.

Additionally, Housing First builds upon the existing Social Impact Bond (SIB) which has so far secured independent living spaces for 223 of the city-region’s previously most entrenched rough sleepers.

The Mayor has pledged to end the need for rough sleeping in the city-region by May 2020.

He said: “This is the latest step on our journey. Housing First is a proven successful model. Delivering a sustainable and impactful Housing First service across Greater Manchester will be crucial if we are to make good on our promise to address the humanitarian crisis that is homelessness, and rough sleeping in particular.”

Matthew Harrison, Chief Executive at Great Places, added: “This is a consortium that brings significant experience, expertise, passion and commitment and is cross sectorial, bringing together housing, health, people with lived experience and the community and voluntary sector.

“It is important that we all work together across the region and tackle the scourge of homelessness in our cities and our towns.”

Kerrie Pryde, Operational Director for Jigsaw Support added: “We’ve run very successful Housing First projects for a number of years now and are delighted to share our experience on a regional level and work alongside Stockport Homes to help rehouse more people across Greater Manchester.”

For more information about GMHF, please email GMHF@greatplaces.org.uk