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Longhurst Group helping the homeless as part of new Housing First scheme

Longhurst Group is proud to have joined up to an innovative new scheme to help tackle the issue of homelessness on the streets of Nottingham.

Housing First models are being introduced across the UK. In Nottingham, Housing First is being delivered by Opportunity Nottingham, a service that works with people facing multiple disadvantage due to a mixture of complex needs; including mental ill-health, homelessness, substance misuse and involvement in the criminal justice system.

They have launched the model in partnership with the City Council and it is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund as part of its Fulfilling Lives Programme.  

The Opportunity Nottingham team comprises of Personal Development Coordinators, who offer holistic support to help people address their range of complex support needs. The team is supported with input from a Clinical Psychologist, a Social Worker, and a worker who will act as a point of liaison with landlords and housing providers.

Housing First aims to use housing as a starting point – rather than an ending point – out of homelessness by giving the person a sense of responsibility along with an intensive programme of support designed specifically for their needs.

Colleagues from our Housing Team have now pledged the Group’s support to the programme.

Lisa Fairlie, Head of Housing Services, said: “There is a national homelessness crisis – we can all see that every time we walk through our towns and cities.

“I believe very strongly that everyone has a right to a home that is suitable for their needs.

“The Housing First model, with the responsibility of a tenancy and bespoke intensive support, is a way of giving people back their independence and choices about how they live their life. 

“When we identify a property that is suitable, we work alongside Opportunity Nottingham using the right home, right person approach.

“The intensive support offered by Housing First, in partnership with our Housing Management team, is aimed to ensure that their tenancies are sustained and will also address their health and well-being while giving them a place of safety to call their own.

 “Tenants will also have access to a group of trusted professionals that can work with them on their own personal needs.

“My teams are really passionate about this scheme and are so proud to be involved. Our group vision is ‘Improving Lives’ and Housing First really helps to achieve that.

“We are really keen to explore the possibility of delivering Housing First in all our local authority areas.

“While we also recognise the challenges, we think it is more than worthwhile.”

Our group vision is ‘Improving Lives’ and Housing First really helps to achieve that.

Lisa Fairlie, Head of Housing Services, Longhurst Group

Natalie Humphrey, Housing Officer in Nottingham, said she was delighted with how the Housing First project was developing.

She said: “I am really proud that we were able to be the first landlord to allocate a property to one of the service users, making a good start in the solution to tackling the issue of homelessness.

“I hope that the success of the scheme will encourage other housing providers to sign up and therefore provide even more available homes for rough sleepers within the city in the future.”

Many of the people that we support on the programme have suffered a lifetime of severe trauma, often linked to their experiences in childhood. On top of this, they face almost daily stigma and exclusion from a system that fails to meet their needs.

Mark Garner, Project Manager, Opportunity Nottingham

Mark Garner, Project Manager for Opportunity Nottingham said: “Opportunity Nottingham is delighted to be launching this scheme in the City with the support of a number of social housing providers and Nottingham City Council. This will help to offer safe and stable accommodation, with a high level of personal support to some of the most disadvantaged and socially excluded individuals in Nottingham.

"Many of the people that we support on the programme have suffered a lifetime of severe trauma, often linked to their experiences in childhood. On top of this, they face almost daily stigma and exclusion from a system that fails to meet their needs.

"A large part of the work we do is about system change. By doing things differently we can help the people who have been failed by the current system and help them to access help, care and support in a way that works for them. Providing accommodation through Housing First is a great starting point to help people on their journey of recovery.”

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