Menu

How The Foxton Centre is helping Preston put Housing First

Posted on - 27th May, 2018 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Housing, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News
The Foxton Centre

Preston is at the forefront of getting people off the UK’s streets and into accommodation, thanks to The Foxton Centre’s Housing First scheme.

Advertisement

During 2017, The Foxton provided accommodation for 50 people as a first step to getting individuals back into adequate housing. The scheme has already grown to include eight properties, with 24 tenants.

The Foxton Centre takes people straight from the street into their housing rather than stipulating conditions, as many other organisations do. There is a growing body of evidence internationally that this approach works, and it’s one that Preston is leading on in the UK, thanks to The Foxton’s work.

Read more: Foxton Centre will be Making Every Adult Matter with new contract

Jeff Marsh, chief executive officer at The Foxton Centre, said, “Using this model, Finland has all but eradicated homelessness – they’ve gone from having 2,500 units of temporary accommodation in the 1990s, to around 50 emergency accommodation units instead.

“In the UK, homelessness has gone up 15%, 30% and 30% in each of last three years. I attended a national conference on Housing First where Sajid Javid, who at the time was Secretary of State for Housing, was singing the scheme’s praises.”

The government will be putting £28 million into Housing First projects in Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands. Of course, that doesn’t help The Foxton, so instead they are aiming to raise funds themselves to purchase run down properties in Preston, and build a longer-term legacy of accommodation provision for homeless people.

Jeff Marsh, CEO at The Foxton Centre
Jeff Marsh, CEO at The Foxton Centre

Jeff continued, “The council has around 1,100 properties currently empty in the city, so we hope some of these can be used for social housing.

“Preston City Council are investing in the scheme, and Preston’s College is partnering with us to provide construction students to work on the properties. They will also offer a certificate to service users who get involved in the construction work.

Read more: Preston sex worker scheme ‘at risk’ after lottery bid rejected

Jeff has lots of other plans for how The Foxton can grow and improve Housing First.

He said, “While drink and drug use goes down when we get people into our houses, mental health issues often come to the fore. We can get people into treatment but we also want to look at other approaches like helping our service users to fill their time with positive, constructive activities, and making better use of their lived experience.

“We recently tried this when one of our Housing First service users attended a meeting with a group of consultants. At first he was quite overawed, but he soon got into it and made some really relevant and positive contributions. He got such a lift to be listened to and valued.

“We already have some other volunteering options – for instance one of the Housing First service users works in the kitchen at The Foxton Centre, and we run Mend It Fix It Grow It sessions for everyone to take part in – but we’re looking at how we can increase mentoring, training and work opportunities.”

Take a look at the video below to see how a similar scheme, Latch (Leeds Action To Create Homes), is making a difference in Leeds.

What do you think of the Foxton’s work with homeless people? Let us know in the comments below.

Share
Preston in pictures Walkway at Avenham Park, PrestonContinental Pub sign in PrestonWalkway at Miller Park PrestonShadows by the Ivy Bridge at Avenham Park, PrestonPeople in Miller Park, PrestonCouple in Avenham Park, PrestonShadows at Winckley Square, PrestonWindows in Preston View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's weekly newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday rounding up our best content from the last week and a look ahead to what's happening.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.