Housing First and rehousing rough sleepers is abject failure. Do the facts not the PR bullsh*t – IT TAKES FIVE MONTHS TO EVEN FIND A PROPERTY!

If you believe what you read …

This week Housing First Scotland are hugely patting themselves on the back for reaching 404 rough sleepers rehoused since 2019 and no evictions.  Jon Sparkes the chief executive of the homeless organisation Crisis is effusive over this yet look with objective scrutiny and we can only conclude this is chronic failure and not success at all.

Tweeted circa 6m Friday 22nd January 2021

404 roofless rough sleepers rehoused – since 2019 – so somewhere between 1 year and a day and 2 years. This begs the question of how many rough sleepers are there each year in Scotland and a few years ago Shelter (Scotland) estimated this at 5,000 per year and this figure was accepted by the Scottish Government.

The Shelter (Scotland) estimate in 2017

The best view is that the Housing First model has rehoused 404 out of 5,000 rough sleepers since 2019 though it could be 404 out of 10,000 Scottish rough sleepers in a two year period of 2019 and 2020. Let’s assume it is 5,000 which also assumes that rough sleeper numbers have not increased since the Shelter Scotland estimate and which all data reveals they have.

404 rough sleepers out of 5,000 absolute minimum rough sleepers means the Housing First model has rehoused just 8% of Scottish rough sleepers; or the same as saying the Housing First model has FAILED to rehouse 92% of rough sleepers in Scotland since 2019. That is the factual context and is failure not success.

Returns for December show that Glasgow, the city with the highest number of homelessness applications in Scotland, hit the significant 150 tenancies milestone.”

Says the official press release (here) and this deserves wider scrutiny as in 2019 Glasgow City Council decommissioned 89 homeless hostel beds so they could fund the Housing First model. That may at first appear that HF rehoused more and in their own property but it doesn’t as the 89 hostel rooms saw each occuant be rehoused or ‘moved on’ every 97 days which means the hostel system woud have rehoused 335 homeless person per year in Glasgow or 123% more than was achieved by the HF model. [(365 days per year / 97 day occupancy) x 89 hostel rooms] is the 335 per year figure.

The Housing First model needs the exact same 1-bedded property to rehouse the Housing First client as the hostel model needs to rehouse the hostel resident. Thus the Housing First model reduces the capacity of housing units needed to rehouse homeless persons to just 45% of the figure that the existing hostel resettlement model achieved … and which is repeatedly stated by the Housing First model zealots to be a failing system.

The same failing homeless hostel resettlement model provides immediate housing for 123% more than the Housing First model and it finds 123% more stable housing than the Housing First model in Glasgow.

Look a bit deeper at the official data and we find it is taking an average of 149 days to find a Housing First property for each rough sleeper!! The Housing FIRST model simly cannot find the properties and is a chronic failure even in theory let alone practice and below is the official data table


We are told by the zealot devotees of the cultish Housing First model that the model is all about putting the roofless (rough sleeper / other single homeless client) into a property FIRST and without any pre-conditions to the support needs they may have. YET the properties are NOT available even for a pathfinder project across the country and the funding levels and political support every such pathfinder always brings.

The bullshit PR merchants of the Housing First model are silent on where the rough sleeper resides for the 149 days or FIVE MONTHS it takes to find a property for them!!

I fully agree that the homeless hostel resettlement model is failing and has been failing for many decades and that is primarily due not to the model but due to the unavailability of the move-on property which is (a) the final stage of the hostel resettlement model and mostly unfunded for support; yet also (b) the starting point for the Housing First model and which is attarcting suport funding.

It is a matter of huge concern that the Glasgow example reveals the extra support funding which means visiting support workers view the properties and reassures landlords is only finding 45% of that number of properties of the 3 hostel services it replaced and which did not have visiting support funding to reassure the landlords!

Glasgow and the entire Scottish Housing First model is failing despite its funding and goodwill advantages and is failing far more than the hostel resettlement model it seeks to replace , and instead we see leading figures attempting to laud performance that frankly doesn’t deserve to even be rolled in glitter given the maximum 8% figure such as Jon Sparkes of Crisis (and Crisis advise the Scottish Government on the incredibly superficial theory that is Housing First.)

On Twitter a worker within the Housing First Scotland issued the usual blame the messenger / how dare you response below. It was retweeted by only one person which was Jon Sparkes of Crisis.

I have chosen not to include the individual’s name

Reaching 404 and just 8% of just Scottish rough sleepers noting the HF model can apply to other single homeless persons is NOT a milestone, it is NOT an important milestone and it is NOT a landmark; it is just a pitiful number. It is the same hyperbolic propaganda that sets out to deliberately deceive and deflect away from the performance reality by quoting a supposed ‘big number’ and hope nobody realises what a sham that same ‘big number’ means in context.

The same sham ‘ big number’ startegy is not limited to Housing First in Scotland as just last week saw Andy Burnham adopt the same deceit when raving about the rehousing of rough sleepers using the HF model across the ten local authority area of Greater Manchester and the construct this time was GMHP – Greater Manchester Homes Partnership.

GMHP comprises the 24 largest social landlords across Greater Manchester who sought acclaim for rehousing 357 rough sleepers over the past three years. How wonderful this is blah, blah, blah. Yet crunch the numbers and this means 119 rough sleepers rehoused each year and between 24 large social landlords .

The average is each large and purportedly social landlord rehoused just five (Yes 5) rough sleepers each each year. The acclaim and success was in fact abject failure and extremely pitiful. That is not subjective opinion but objective fact borne out by using the most basic arithmetic you can use.

This Guardian piece is a shameful polemic and that is being tactful. It is the most biased panglossian and deceitful article I have read in many a year and that is saying something!

Despite the early scepticism, the GM Homes Partnership has gone on to be one of the UK’s most successful homelessness projects, with 356 long-term rough sleepers given a roof over their head. Three years on, 281 (79%) of those are still accommodated, 45 have started employment or training, 133 have received help for their mental health and 97 have accessed drug or alcohol services.

The article itself gives the figures of 356 over three years and between the 24 largest and purportedly social landlords in Greater Manchester and eulogises how wonderfully successful this scheme has been! It is a sickening piece and not just because it reveals the returns that investors are making on the rehousing or rough sleepers …

Aside from this Social Impact Bond revealing that investors are making money out of rehousing rough sleepers of £5,000 after 18 months (£500 initial then 3 bonuses of £1,500 each) it also means that this financial imperative is for the so-called social landlords to cherry pick rough sleepers who will present the least problems to tenancy failure so that ‘investors’ maximise their return!!

The 24 largest and purportedly social landlords who form the GMHP all claim to have social purpose coursing through their veins and they will always rehouse those most in housing need, blah, blah, blah, is exposed for the lie it has been for many years. Further exposed are the investors “who come from the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector” as only being imbued with public and community spirit IF it makes them a few bob! The 50 SIB contracts thus far around the country have made a pretty penny for the privateers who dreamed up this extremely offensive money making scheme too!

The Greater Manchester Homes Partnership comprises; Arawak Walton, Arcon, Bolton at Home, Equity Housing Group, First Choice, ForViva, Great Places, Guinness Partnership, Irwell Valley, Jigsaw Homes, Johnnie Johnson, Mosscare St Vincents. Northwards, One Manchester. Onward, Regenda, Rochdale Boroughwide, Salix, Six Towns, Southway Housing, Stockport Homes, Trafford Housing Trust, Wigan & Leigh Homes and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group. They are the 24 large and purportedly social landlords who, on average, managed to find 5 properties each per year for rough sleepers.

It’s a roll-call of shame and they deserve to be named and shamed as between them they own and manage hundreds of thousands of houses across Greater Manchester yet on average they found not even 10 properties per month between them.

The facts are stark and shameful both in GMHP, in Scotland and in many other cases such as the Sheffield Housing First service that could not find 10 properties in an 18 month period I reported on a few years back despite oodles of funding.

ALL the facts point to one simple truth in that the so-called social landlords do not want to rehouse rough sleepers or many other single homeless cohorts in their properties. In England as I have said many times before and over many years the facts show English SRS landlords rehouse just 13,000 single homeless persons each year when England creates north of 150,000 single homeless each year. The one thing these landlords are not is social and they care not a jot about rehousing ALL single homeless cohorts which includes the one third of women who have fled domestic abuse who are single and for all domestic abuse survivors just 2% are rehoused by the fundamentally misnamed social landlords.

Yet, day-in, day-out, we are bombarded by these deceitful rabbles screaming how social they are and how much they do for ‘vulnerable’ persons and how they are imbued with social purpose and so many other vague and deceitful nonsenses. The fact they are joined in this deliberately deceitful endeavour by Johnny-come-lately politicians such as Burnham and homeless lobbies such as Crisis just serves to show these ‘leaders’ who claim to be fighting to end rough sleeping and end homelessness are no more than snake oil salesmen and saleswomen – the facts can give no other conclusion.

“Any more doubts about Housing First Jon Sparkes? I have barely touched on the facts and details above which reveal this model to be a sham that is being sold by you and others with cult like zeal and which the facts prove can never possibly work in England or in Scotland as the needed properties simply do not exist.

Dear Jon Sparkes given the facts reveal it takes 149 days on average for Housing First in Scotland to find a property for a rough sleeper then please advise when you are going to rename it as Housing 5 months after you first contact?