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Housing First Interim Review

Meeting: 21/06/2022 - Housing Scrutiny Committee (Item 30)

30 Housing First Interim Review pdf icon PDF 374 KB

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This item was chaired by Councillor Thittala Varkey (Chair)


Matter for Decision

Housing First is an approach to helping rough sleepers to leave the streets which differs from other, longer-established approaches in a number of respects.


Cambridge City Council, in partnership with the County Council, agreed to set up and jointly fund a Housing First pilot in the city. The pilot would be assessed in two stages: an interim report carried out at a mid-point in the scheme and a later independent report once the scheme had been running for a sufficient length of time to allow a full appraisal. This is the mid-point report.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

      i.         Noted the report and the interim findings and noted the recommendations for further examination, the most important of which were set out paragraph 3.4 of the officer report.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Housing Services Manager (Housing Advice).


The Housing Services Manager (Housing Advice) said the following in response to Members’ questions:

i.               Any decision to bring the Housing First Service in-house would need to consider several variables including consultation with the County Council (as a partner in the project with the City Council) and Housing First employees. Commented that if the service was brought in house this could facilitate better integration with other services for rough sleepers.

ii.             The comments made by support workers within the report would be a consideration in the future review of the service. Noted that there needed to be better integration of the Housing First service within the broad spectrum of housing services for rough sleepers. There needed to be a balance between the needs of individuals and other people who may be vulnerable (neighbours / tenants etc).

iii.            Stated that the County Council would always be involved as a partner with the Housing First project, the question which was raised in the report was whether Housing First would sit better within the City Council in terms of this being the best fit for Cambridge.

iv.           Noted concerns raised about Housing First 2 and the good neighbour role but felt there was still not enough information about this at the moment to draw conclusions as there were currently only two.

v.             Confirmed that there would be a review of the modular homes project but there was insufficient information at the moment to do a like for like comparison to Housing First.

vi.           Six modular home units at Newmarket Road were funded completely independently of the council.  Officers were currently in discussions about funding for further units. Housing First was a good fit for some people but was not appropriate for everyone. Needed to get more Housing Association involvement in the project.

vii.          There were a number of considerations / eligibility criteria taken into account as to whether Housing First was appropriate for a particular individual. Housing First may be appropriate where other housing options had failed.

viii.        Acknowledged that the case studies in the report were from males but female clients did not come forward to take part.

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.