Late on Christmas Eve the government issued a press release to say 200 former rough sleepers would spend Christmas Day 2019 off the streets. How heartwarming … Yet what the government failed to tell you is that this came at a cost per rough sleeper of £70,000 each so far and £47,000 per rough sleeper pa and £900 per rough sleeper per week!
Also unsaid is the UK has around 35,000 rough sleepers per year (London alone records over 8,000 in CHAIN data) so over 99% of yearly rough sleepers have NOT been helped by the incredibly costly charade that is called the Housing First model.
The government launched three times three-year pilot Housing First programmes in Birmingham. Liverpool and Manchester in May 2018 for an overall cost of £28 million and we are now more than halfway through these pilots which gives circa £14 million spent so far and £70,000 on each of these 200 former rough sleepers.
A cost of £900 per rough sleeper per week and it would have been cheaper to buy and gift a property to each rough sleeper!
These facts of course are unstated and the hyperbolic government press release does not mention them at all and instead carries on with the snake oil approach:
The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick met one resident, Claire, in her new home in Walsall to hear about her experience.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said:
Housing First is making a real difference to rough sleepers this Christmas. This programme is based on the simple principle of helping people into safe and secure homes first, and then providing intensive support, including for addiction, physical and mental health.
It was a privilege to meet Claire at her new home in Walsall, hear her experiences and wish her a happy Christmas in her new home.
Rough sleeping fell last year for the first time in several years, but there is a lot more to do and the Prime Minister and I have made this a priority of the new government.
We have invested over £1.2 billion to reduce all forms of homelessness and have set out to end rough sleeping during this Parliament.
This comes a day after the government confirmed an additional £260 million to support people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
The funding will be shared among 317 councils across England to help families to find a place of their own, whilst also providing the necessary services for people to improve their lives and get back on their feet.
Housing First differs from other rough sleeping outreach support, in that case workers look after a much smaller number of people, allowing them to fully understand and get to grips with their specific needs, offering a much more personal approach.
The flexible support gives people a chance to move into the Housing First scheme and are offered the help to move on again once they are ready.
This scheme is replicating the success seen across Europe, where Housing First projects have been successful at ending homelessness for at least 8 out of 10 people in the scheme.
The same old sh*te from the same old ignoramuses in government is what we have here (ably and sycophantically supported by Crisis and its deluded CEO Jon Sparkes who sells the miracle HF model at every turn) in claims to end and eradicate rough sleeping and with highly dubious and especially vague claims about the Housing First model in ‘Europe’ … and no mention whatsoever of the cost or the fact that 200 rough sleepers is less than 1% of the rough sleepers we have in the UK each year.
The 200 figures only equates to 2.4% of the known rough sleepers in London each year which the CHAIN data records – see here so any chance of the Housing First model eradicating rough sleeping with £1.2 billion to reduce all forms of homelessness is laughable when it can’t even approach the amount needed to end just rough sleeping.
The £900 per rough sleeper per week for 35,000 rough sleepers equates to £32 million per week for just the Housing First model – a yearly figure of around £1.65 billion and way more than the total £1.2 billion for ALL forms of homelessness over a 5 year period … even if 35,000 one bedded properties could magically appear out of the ether each year which of course they can’t.
Here is the original detail of the pilot schemes and as I said at the time this always was a ridiculous ill-considered scheme that takes fantasy to a level of way beyond ordinary delusion. I have repeatedly and consistently argued this Housing First model – in relation to the UK is a charade – and I developed and ran what would now be called Housing First more than 20 years ago so I have no aversion to the theory. It is just that it cannot work now in the UK context.
It is time this spoon-fed deluded bullsh*t ended and all forms of homelessness was treated seriously rather than emotively and devoid of fact as the current government treats it and ably supported by the likes of Crisis. All this delusion will see is a resigned position just around the corner WHEN Housing First fails of we tried so it must be the fault of the homeless persons themselves and governments finally and totally wash their hands of all homeless persons and label the truly abhorrent state of homelessness as a lifestyle choice of those that government and homeless experts such as Crisis have failed!
Christmas day and this truly offensive delusional nonsense was tweeted by Jon Sparkes the chief executive of Crisis
It works!? No it does not! I have just destroyed that nonsense claim above from Jon Sparkes who is keen to roll out this delusional unworkable model across the UK and cost billions for what is and will always be a hopeless folly and charade.
The Housing First model that has had limited success in Finland, and Finland alone but nowhere else in Europe, is an expensive con trick that cannot possibly work in UK conditions and however obscene amounts of funding it receives. Its core theme of providing the housing bricks and mortar first appears so right and correct but it is a folly and superficial nonsense when you barely scratch the surface, it is the delusion of the impossible promoted zealously by those who should know better (or have other money-making agendas.) It is a classic case of something that appears so good to be true that it is easily disproven to be the sham that it is as the darn pesky facts above reveal.
Now with the government banning No Fault Eviction – another too good to be true nonsense – we see that the Housing First model can only fail just as the traditional model called the Resettlement Model, will also fail due to NFE banning. We now have the preposterous reality that ALL models that supposed address ALL forms of homelessness will fail and that includes domestic violence and abuse refuges and ALL because of tin-pot snake-oil theory that allows politicians to say at least we tried and/or we only did what the experts said would work when those experts do not know their backside from their elbow.
Finally, none of the above is political. The Labour Party are also in favour of Housing First and the banning of no fault eviction was also in the Labour general election manifesto. In lobbying terms of the so-called experts Shelter as just as much in favour of banning NFE as Crisis, as are other homeless and housing experts such as Generation Rent and Homeless Link and there is complete silence on NFE banning from DVA ‘experts’ such as Womens Aid and Refuge despite the fact banning NFE will kill off the DVA refuge model and increase DVA as much as it will increase other forms of homelessness with massive increases.
The real crisis is in the denial and non-consideration of fact and context to ALL forms of homelessness from ALL ‘experts’ and ALL politicians. The Housing First model is just one charade amongst many others, a particularly expensive charade, that will INEVITABLY see much more rough sleeping than it sort to address in the first place.
There are none so blind as those who dogmatically refuse to see!
UPDATE – Thursday 2 January 2019
Inside Housing as per usual parrots the government announcement with no comment or investigation in an article below …
The government also said that its £28m Housing First pilots in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands have helped 200 rough sleepers into homes to date.
Housing First is an approach to reducing rough sleeping which sees people moved into safe and secure housing in the first instance and then given intensive support to recover from issues, such as substance addiction or ill health, until they can move into a permanent home.
No comment, no analysis – just the usual dissemination of government propaganda, the same usual ‘painting’ of rough sleepers as the ‘great unwashed’ and not even what rented sector these 200 rough sleepers have moved into at a support cost of £900 per person per week. I see the new year is continuing the disdain that social housing general needs types have for homelessness … Plus ca change!