Former Prime Minister Theresa May joined West Midlands Mayor Andy Street this week as they visited a programme which helps tackle homelessness in Walsall.
The Housing First programme run by housing and social care provider GreenSquareAccord, provides people who have experienced homelessness, chronic health and social care needs, a stable home and ongoing support to help them rebuild their lives. Accommodation is provided by GreenSquareAccord and a number of other social landlords including whg in a partnership approach.
Theresa May and Andy Street met with some Housing First service users to learn about their personal stories and the difference the programme has made to their lives.
During the visit Mrs May spoke with 28-year-old David Armishaw, who found himself homeless after losing his shared accommodation in 2020 and sleeping in Walsall town centre. David, who now lives in Pelsall, said that without the project he would be either dead or on drugs. He added: “Housing First helped me turn my life around so much.”
Mrs May said: “So often in the past the assumption has been you just give someone temporary accommodation and they’ll sort themselves out.
“But actually, giving them permanent accommodation and then working with them to sort out what may be a complex set of issues is the way that delivers.
“From what I’ve seen today this can turn people’s lives around completely. It’s a benefit to them individually and also to society as a whole.”
Council Outreach Officers work closely with GreenSquareAccord to identify people who may be in need of support. Once a person is identified and they are happy to receive help, they are given a tenancy, and GreenSquareAccord provides them with the support they want. The service not only offers people a home, but it also provides support which is flexible to the needs of the individual, links to mental health and substance abuse support services where required, as well helping people register with a GP.
Ruth Cooke, Chief Executive Officer of GreenSquareAccord said: “Building better lives is at the heart of what we do and we are delighted to see the positive impacts our Housing First programme is bringing to both the people we support and the local community.
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