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Michael’s story: After a decade, he's broken the cycle of homelessness

Our Housing First scheme supports people like him with the most complex needs

Michael* was caught in a cycle of homelessness for over a decade but has now moved into his new home as part of a pilot Housing First scheme in Thanet.

Under Housing First, he has been moved straight into a home of his own with no conditions placed on him to change. The scheme provides intensive support to people with a long history of rough sleeping.

Michael started using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism following a traumatic incident. Before being housed he had been in and out of prison for drug offences and was sleeping rough.

He is now getting the emotional and practical support he needs as part of Housing First, including help accessing alcohol and drug recovery from The Forward Trust. He’s thrilled to be in his own place with a fresh start and hope for the future.

Housing First helps to break the cycle of homelessness among people with the most complex needs. It has allowed people with a long history of rough sleeping to remain in tenancies so they can begin rebuilding their lives. With stable accommodation and support tailored to their specific needs they will, in their own time, start to recover and make positive choices about how they live.

We are working alongside Thanet District Council and the Thanet RISE project to offer a new beginning for people in the area who struggle to engage with typical homelessness services.

Porchlight first brought the internationally recognised Housing First scheme to Kent with a pilot in Maidstone, where it has intensively supported 10 people who have multiple complex needs and have experienced rough sleeping on more than one occasion. Of the people supported by the Maidstone scheme:

  • So far, everyone has maintained their tenancy and not returned to rough sleeping
  • Everyone has experienced improvements in their physical health
  • For every £1 spent on this project, there has been a saving of £13.24 to the state (on the cost of A&E visits, inpatient care, police interventions, etc).

We will continue working with Thanet District Council and other councils across Kent to grow the scheme and help people experiencing longstanding homelessness move forward in life. We have confirmed a second property with Thanet District Council and will be moving our next client in very soon.

*Not his real name