Housing First Anglesey, led by The Wallich, has become the third project in Wales to be awarded the Housing First Wales Accreditation. Formally announced by Climate Change Minister Julie James at the recent Housing First Wales Conference, the accreditation follows months of rigorous scrutiny to evaluate the project’s fidelity to the Housing First principles for Wales.
Housing First is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that focuses on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into an independent and settled home, rather than requiring people to have lengthy stays in temporary accommodation and prove they are ‘housing ready’. Intensive, multi-agency support is provided with no pre-conditions or time-limits. The model has traditionally been targeted at people who are sleeping rough or are very marginally housed, and who have chronic and complex support needs. It was developed in New York in the 1990s, primarily by community psychologist Sam Tsemberis, and has since been widely adopted across the USA and Europe.
In order to have the greatest possible impact, it is vital that projects calling themselves Housing First, or claiming to deliver this approach, are doing so in accordance with the Housing First principles. The Housing First Wales Accreditation was developed to evaluate whether projects are being delivered in line with the Housing First principles for Wales. It is a very rigorous process, with scrutiny of the organisation’s policies and procedures, and interviews with Housing First tenants, staff, commissioners, landlords and partner organisations.
Over the past year, Housing First Anglesey has embraced this process and responded extremely positively to the interim recommendations report, committing to further development and improvement. The final report was submitted to a panel of independent experts in early July, who looked carefully at the evidence and came to a unanimous decision to award the accreditation to this project.
The final report, which details the process, findings, evidence and recommendations, can be downloaded here.
Jo Parry, Housing First Anglesey Project Manager, said
“We are absolutely over the moon to have been awarded the housing first accreditation from Cymorth Cymru.
“The team at The Wallich have worked really hard to deliver a truly great service, one which we are proud of and couldn’t have done it without the support of all those involved. A very proud moment.”
Alex Osmond, Cymorth Cymru’s Housing First and Lived Experience Manager, said:
“Working with The Wallich’s team in Anglesey, alongside their partner organisations and clients, has been a fantastic experience. All involved clearly work hard to ensure they are delivering an effective Housing First model, in line with the principles.
“There is a culture of reflection and education across the organisation, and I expect to see the Anglesey project continue to develop its support over time. The accreditation was clearly deserved, and I expect staff at the project to see its awarding as the beginning of a journey, not the end.”
Speaking at Cymorth’s recent Housing First conference, Climate Change Minister Julie James said:
“I am absolutely delighted to announce that the third project to be awarded the Housing First Wales accreditation is Housing First Anglesey, which is led by The Wallich in partnership with Anglesey Council, local health services, criminal justice representatives and a range of private and social landlords.
“Established in 2013, initially as a pilot, this is the longest running Housing First project in Wales, having supported hundreds of people experiencing homelessness and it is heartening to hear that this is being delivered in line with our Housing First principles.
“I have been extremely pleased to hear about the extensive work undertaken during this process to improve and develop the service. Congratulations to Housing First Anglesey and to Jo Parry, the service manager.”