Targeting the 'hard to reach' homeless
Homeless people with complex support needs – such as mental health and/or drug/alcohol problems – have become a policy priority in the UK because they are disproportionately 'failed by' or 'resistant to' existing interventions. Responding to a call for the development of housing models that better meet the needs of this ‘hard to reach’ group, the University of York and Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, reviewed the evidence regarding orthodox and innovative housing models. Findings from this review and accompanying 40 page report, 'Staircases, elevators and cycles of change’ are currently feeding directly into policy debate and the development of projects aimed at this vulnerable client group.
The review has rejuvenated debate amongst policymaker and practitioners regarding the strengths and weaknesses of different housing models for homeless people with complex support needs in the UK.
The review has played a key role in shaping the development of (and raising awareness of potential challenges to) the UK’s first Housing First pilot project in Glasgow. Evaluation of this pilot is providing crucial evidence regarding the model’s effectiveness outside the USA, from where almost all existing evidence derives at present.