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This January not only signified the start of a new year, but also the conclusion of the GM Homes programme.


Earlier this month we held a virtual celebration event with all our partners. We were joined by over 60 people from our commissioners (GMCA) investors (One Manchester, Trafford Housing Trust & Bridges Outcomes Partnership), our delivery partners (Shelter, Great Places & The Brick) and 19 housing partners. It was amazing to get together with so many people who have worked hard to support so many people across Greater Manchester.


We were joined by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, whose initial commitment to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness in the region led to the programme being commissioned.


Andy praised the programme’s ethos of “not setting people up to fail and giving them time and space to recover” and how important it is to give people a “foundation, a permanence and personal attention”. It was amazing to hear how “SIB has changed the national debate about homelessness” and has “come forward as a substantial response” to tackling the issue with a real” we can do this” approach.


The event gave us a chance to look back at some of the highlights over the last three years, share what we’ve achieved and learnt, as well as discuss what the future holds. It also gave us a great opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to the programme. We heard from staff and participants from across the partnership who shared their experiences.


Over the course of the last three years we have supported 356 people into accommodation, and 79% are still in accommodation today. We’ve helped 133 people access mental health support and 97 people received support for drug and/or alcohol use. 45 people started work as well as 40 people starting training or education.


It was amazing to look back at what people have achieved with our support. The personalised, asset-based approach of delivery partners and housing providers has enabled participants to build and sustain these outcomes long term. We ensured that every participant had an individual ‘exit plan’, giving delivery partners time to ensure ongoing support was in place where needed, and we worked closely with housing providers and all 10 Local Authorities to minimise the risk of anyone returning to rough sleeping in the future.


One of the key aspects of the programme, established at the very beginning, was the flexibility of service design and delivery, allowing us to learn from our experiences, and adapt what we were doing to ensure the best support possible was being provided. The event gave us a chance to look back at what we have learnt, and what made the programme as successful as it was:


- Strong partnership and collaboration – all partners have been fully invested in the programme, often working collaboratively to ensure effective support was always available.


- Importance of staff – everyone working within the partnership has made it what it was. Dedication and openness to adopt new ways of working was essential. Lived experience and Peer Mentorship was something participants found particularly beneficial as they felt they were supported by people who could relate to their situation.


- Housing – adaptations to allocations and tenancy management policies helped ensure we could accommodate so many participants, allowing them to feel settled and supported rather than threatened. Only 1% of tenants were evicted and 10% were supported with managed moves to support them long term, with 100% success rates. This hasn’t always been easy and housing providers have had to hold their nerve but working closely with delivery partners and the participants has enabled some amazing results. People who have previously been written off are now in secure accommodation.


- Personalised support / asset-based approach – working with individuals on their strengths and aspirations, at their pace was essential. Once on the programme, they were never ‘closed’, and the support was always there for them.


- Personalisation fund – allowed delivery partners to support individuals by buying furniture to help make a home, essentials like food and utilities, as well as gym & fishing equipment, art supplies, bikes to help people rediscover hobbies.


- Employment/training – this was challenging due to time restraints on the programme and access to opportunities during Covid-19 pandemic, however we’ve worked closely with The Growth Company and housing provider services to ensure everyone has access to opportunities if/when they decided they are ready.


Nic Kershaw (CEO, One Manchester) and Larry Gold (CEO, Trafford Housing Trust), on behalf of the board, thanked everyone for their work and dedication, acknowledging that with a strong partnership we’ve been able to make a massive difference, being brave and learning from things we’ve got wrong. It’s allowed us to learn and reflect on so much, helping people with long term sustainment, not just a short-term fix.


The event was a great chance to wrap things up and start the conversation about what we’ve learnt and intend to do moving into 2021. Although the programme itself has come to a close, the GM Homes legacy will continue, and we aim to share our learning across Greater Manchester and the country, to help shape policy and strategy and help support as many more people as possible. We are planning to hold future learning events and workshops, so watch this space!


We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has worked on the programme or supported us along the way, we could not made such an impact without the people at the heart of the partnership, who truly want to help people and make a difference. Thank you.


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Updated: Nov 13, 2020


Sam Perrett - Project Manager, GM Homes Partnership


I can’t believe it is November 2020, and the end of the GM Homes programme is less than 6 weeks away. What a three years it has been!


I’m proud to have been involved in such an inspiring and impactful programme. I joined GM Homes in January 2020 and haven’t looked back since! This year hasn’t turned out the way anyone was expecting, and it’s been a strange and worrying time for us all; however, we’ve continued to provide exceptional support to our participants. Not only have we been able to help them through the pandemic, we have also supported them in continuing recoveries, settling into accommodation, preparing for training and work and looking to a positive future.

With the end of the programme now in sight, I thought now would be a good time to look back over the last three years, at how the GM Homes Partnership has really come together and worked collaboratively to support some of the most vulnerable people in Greater Manchester, and to look forward to what is in store for the future.


Andy Burnham speaking at our One Year celebration, December 2018


In 2017 we set out with a vision to support as many people experiencing homelessness as possible into secure accommodation, accompanied by intensive wrap-around support that could help them overcome any barriers they faced and rebuild their independence.

We’ve now supported 356 former rough sleepers into accommodation, and our delivery partners Shelter, Great Places and The Brick have worked closely with housing providers, statutory services and local charities across Greater Manchester in order to provide the best possible wrap-around support.


One of the key drivers of success has been the strength of the partnership. Without the dedication of our delivery partners, and the commitment from housing providers across Greater Manchester, we would not have achieved the success we have.


At times this hasn’t been easy. Delivery partners have had to work creatively, using an strengths-based and personalised approach in order to gain the trust of many participants, and this has often taken time. Fortunately, our ethos at GM Homes has always been that once people are on the programme, their case is never closed. If the support offered isn’t working, we’ve been able to try different approaches in order to find what is right for each individual.

Being able to give a person a second, third and fourth chance, if needed, has had real benefits. It was clear early on in the programme that sometimes the first option sometimes doesn’t work out, and we’ve had the flexibility to try different approaches – for example offer managed moves in order to find the right outcome. There’s been no such thing as a failure; we’ve just had to find the right solution.



One of our participants settling into his new home


Housing providers across Greater Manchester have worked flexibly from the word go, adapting allocations policies to support people who would have previously been refused access to social housing. And these providers have carried this ethos forward by adopting a trauma-informed approach when supporting tenants and looking at alternative ways of managing tenancies.


2020 has been a challenging year. In March 2020 we identified at the earliest point the risk of COVID-19 to our participants, many of whom were classed as extremely vulnerable due to underlying health issues, drug and alcohol dependencies, and a history of rough sleeping. Within days, delivery partners were providing all participants with mobile phones to prevent isolation, plus food, medication and essential household items as well as things to keep them entertained during lockdown. This has continued ever since and has ensured participants remain safe and secure wherever they are housed. Having such strong working relationships with participants on the programme has enabled delivery partners to ensure they have everything they need, and can ask for help when needed. Despite the challenges, we’ve still managed to support people with managed moves to protect them from exploitation, moved people from rough sleeping into secure accommodation, and helped people to access training and employment opportunities, drug and alcohol services and essential mental health support.


Some of our participants using their skills to renovate a sheltered scheme in June 2019


Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ll be sharing some of this throughout December, along with updates from some of the frontline staff who have been the driving force of the GM Homes programme. Keep an eye out on Twitter!


So, what happens when the programme finishes in December, I hear you ask…?

The focus over the last six months has been preparing people for the future and life after the programme. Each participant has an exit strategy, individual to them based on their circumstances and needs. We’ve worked closely with housing providers, statutory services and local authorities to co-ordinate ongoing support where needed and to ensure each participant is prepared for the future. One thing we’ve learnt over the last three years is the importance of partnership working and collaboration, and we’re making sure that this continues into 2021 and beyond.


We’ve learnt so much since 2017 and achieved some amazing results for the people we have supported. There’s so much great work continuing to support people facing and experiencing homelessness across Greater Manchester and beyond. We will be sharing our learning as far and wide as possible, in order to continue to support as many people as possible and influence policy and system change wherever we can.

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In May we shared a programme update, focusing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Delivery Partners and participants have reacted to the crisis and lockdown. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, the update can be found here.


COVID-19 update

A month down the line and Delivery Partners continue to provide essential support to all participants virtually, however very recently some face-to-face contact has started to be re-introduced where appropriate, and where social distancing can be maintained safely.

The majority of participants have been very grateful for the support being provided, and more and more are now demonstrating their new found independence and ability to sustain a tenancy, something they would only have dreamed of prior to starting the SIB programme.


Exit planning

This is extremely positive news considering the programme draws to a close at the end of December 2020. The focus over the remainder of the year is the programme’s exit strategy, which aims to minimise the risk of any participant returning to rough sleeping, focusing on seven main themes:


1. In depth cohort analysis, assessing the current risk of each participant returning to rough sleeping.

2. Individual exit strategies for each engaging participant, ensuring everyone has access to the necessary support outside of the SIB programme.

3. Implementation of ‘SIB Principles’ Action Plan for housing providers (referred to in March’s newsletter) to ensure the flexible ways of working continue when supporting and housing tenants with complex needs and vulnerabilities.

4. Ongoing support to access employment, training and education opportunities.

5. Managing impact of COVID-19.

6. Learning from experience in order to feedback to partners and commissioners.

7. Post programme monitoring and review in order to truly measure the success of the programme and exit strategy.


All partners are now well underway with implementing the key actions within the exit strategy. One of the key elements of the exit strategy’s success will be the continuation of the strong relationships between all partners, including our commissioners (GMCA), Delivery Partners, Local Authorities, housing providers and statutory services.


This was identified very early on in the programme, and has been built upon ever since. It is these relationships that have enabled the programme to be as successful as it has been to date, surpassing initial targets and so far supporting 324 formally rough sleepers into permanent accommodation.


Case studies


Ryan's family story


Ryan faced many challenges before he found the SIB. As a young man, he faced homelessness, mental issues and drug addiction.  Great Places helped him to start tackling his issues, find his first home and now, he's been able to start his new family. Read about Ryan's story by clicking here.


How Matt* started a new chapter

Having spent most of his adult life in custody, Matt was in a bad state both mentally and physically when we first made contact with him. 


Shelter worked with Matt on his drug addiction, his physical health and his job prospects, and now he's on his way to becoming self-employed. Read about Matt's story.


Supporting participants through COVID-19

The pandemic has understandably stalled the recovery of some of our participants, including Robert*.


The Brick needed to think outside the box when it came to supporting Robert through lockdown, and by understanding his personal needs and tailoring their support appropriately, Robert is now starting to feel more confident in himself. Find out more by reading our case study

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