A new pathway to preventing and recovering from homelessness

November 24 2017

A new partnership aimed at providing better and more consistent support services for homeless people in Bristol launched on November 14 at Bristol City Council.

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A new partnership aimed at providing better and more consistent support services for homeless people in Bristol launched on November 14 at Bristol City Council.

Partners from St Mungo’s, Second Step, The Salvation Army, ARA and other agencies who work with the homeless came together to mark the start of new way of working called the Bristol Pathway. 

These are services for people who need support to help them recover from homelessness and whichever factors contributed to them becoming homeless. For many people this may include past trauma, poverty, mental ill health, addiction, offending and sex work.  Most people become homeless following eviction from private rented accommodation or following a relationship breakdown with family.

The £5.3 million per year service commissioned by Bristol City Council will consist of four pathways to recovery.  There is men only accommodation led by The Salvation Army, mixed accommodation led by Second Step, women only accommodation led by St Mungo’s and substance misuse Housing led by ARA.

Helen Denyer, St Mungo’s regional head, said: “We are excited to be working together with our partners to provide high quality services to women. It important that we offer our women a service that recognises the unique experience of women who are homeless, and supports them to rebuild their lives, overcoming the challenges they face to be successful in their recovery.”

These services are divided into levels of support, ranging from L1 – high support with 24 hour staffing to L4 – low support for people preparing to live independently.

Referrals are made into the accommodation appropriate to the needs of the individual.  As people recover from homelessness they move down to the appropriate level(s) before moving out to settled accommodation, with a period of support to help make this successful. 

As someone enters the pathway, there will be a robust, strengths based assessment of that person’s needs and aspirations, with every person having a tailored plan for their ‘journey’ of recovery away from homelessness. Strength based means looking at the positive tools a client may have to help their recovery instead of focusing on their risks.

Moving from one service to another will be fluid, a decision taken by the pathway partnership together rather than by individual providers, giving a much smoother transition for the person.

Councillor Paul Smith said: “We have taken a new approach to funding these services, building on the relationships between organisations and asking them to share responsibility for helping people to achieve their aspirations and recover from homelessness. 

“At a time when affordable housing in Bristol is very difficult to access, it is vital that services are better matched to people's needs and that we are doing all we can to encourage independence for residents, enabling them to move more quickly into mainstream housing as their support needs are met.”