Gove backs Housing First

By Dan Peters | 25 November 2021

New communities secretary Michael Gove has indicated his support for the rolling out of Housing First.

The Government is still reviewing the success of the pilots but Mr Gove has given his early backing to the programme, under which people with a long history of rough sleeping are given their own home and intensive support.

Mr Gove told MPs: ‘One of the things that being in the department has made me see the light on is that if you can get someone into a secure, warm, decent place it is then much easier to provide the additional support that means that they are less likely to find themselves back in difficult circumstances.

'I am doing no more than recycling to the department the rationale and the principle behind Housing First and other initiatives.

'That is what we need to do.

‘It is not enough on its own, but it is a very powerful example of a useful, potentially transformative social policy intervention.’

Homelessness minister Eddie Hughes has said he is a ‘keen, enthusiastic supporter’ of the Housing First scheme but has described it as ‘not perfect’.

One Whitehall insider said: ‘The opinion has been that it isn’t the right solution for all rough sleepers.

'The pilots haven’t provided good value for money.’

However, the Government has been under increasing pressure to roll out Housing First.

Shadow housing minister Mike Amesbury recently insisted the pilots had been ‘successful’ while his Labour colleague Rachael Maskell said earlier this year: ‘There is no need for delay, more pilots or more time to be spent on this; we know that Housing First works.’

Charity Homeless Link has said there is a ‘huge evidence base’ showing Housing First is ‘both effective in ending people’s homelessness and saves public money in the long-term’.

It has called on the Government to ensure that Housing First is made ‘available to everyone who needs it,’ adding: ‘This should be done through the delivery of a national, cross-departmental Housing First programme, initially funded over the next three years to roll out and expand Housing First in areas where it is needed.’

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Whitehall Finance Politics Policy Housing Homelessness Third sector Rough sleeping Michael Gove
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