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A personalised approach to homelessness

The latest results of a pilot scheme, initiated by In Control, which offered personalised budgets to rough sleepers have shown it to be a remarkable success.

Based in London, the scheme gave 22 long-term homeless people personal budgets of up to £3,000 and the support to find new lives off the street. The results have exceeded expectations and the report argues that the personalised approach should be expanded to other rough sleepers in the city and beyond.

Providing personalised support to rough sleepers ThumbnailThe report 'Providing personalised support to rough sleepers' gives a final evaluation of the project, which is due to finish this month. It shows the pilot to be a remarkable success and notes positive outcomes for many of those involved. 17 of the homeless are now in housing and 14 have spent more than six months under the same roof.

In 2008, In Control successfully argued for the inclusion of personal budgets in the Government's rough sleeper's strategy 'No One Left Out', on which this pilot scheme is based. Since then, supported by Dept of Communities and Local Government, In Control has worked in partnership with The City of London Corporation and London based charity, Broadway, to explore ways that personal budgets might help long-term rough sleepers to find a new life off the streets.

A steering group including representation and support from In Control oversaw the project and met once a month to provide advice and monitor progress.

People at risk of sleeping rough or on the street have diverse needs and these individual budgets were piloted as a way to help find new and creative solutions. The strategy targeted long-term rough sleepers who had refused standard offers of support and had poor relations with outreach teams. The budgets were used to fund items including clothes, caravan accommodation, furniture and further education college courses.

Participants were not told how much money was available in their personal budget. Instead, they were asked what they wanted in order to help them. Total spending in the first year averaged £794 per person, compared with the £3,000 allowed.

The personalised approach brought elements of choice and control not always provided by standard support and the success has helped bring wider coverage to the project.

The project exceeded the expectations of all involved, with both participants and professionals agreeing that the approach could work with other rough sleepers.

The pilot will continue until the end of this month (March 2011), after which it will become a mainstream part of the work of Broadway's outreach team in the City of London.

John Waters, of In Control, initiated and supported the project. You can contact John at john.waters@in-control.org.uk.

Both the summary report and full evaluation of the work are available below.

A presentation about this project made at In Control's Big Event 2010 is available to watch on the related pages below.

Last Updated : 15 March 2011. Page Author: Paul Ferguson.