Housing First project Housing First We're working with local councils and housing associations to deliver Housing First projects in South Oxfordshire, West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, and the Cotswolds, offering intensive support to individuals with experience of rough sleeping. This collaborative partnership project is the first of its kind in Oxfordshire, and we're very proud to be part of this innovative approach to housing that provides specialist, wrap-around support based on each individual's needs. Originally launched in South Oxfordshire, funding from Nationwide supported us to expand this project into West Oxfordshire, with subsequent extension into Cherwell and the Cotswolds from late 2020. What is the Housing First approach? Housing First is an evidence-based approach to successfully supporting people experiencing homelessness with high needs and histories of entrenched or repeat homelessness to live in their own homes. By providing a stable, independent home alongside intensive personalised support from the start, we aim to provide a stable platform from which other issues can be addressed, and needs met. Under the Housing First approach, housing is a matter of right - and not a reward. Katie's Story Katie fell into substance and alcohol misuse during an abusive relationship. Fleeing this situation with her children, Katie found private accommodation elsewhere, but struggled to keep up with rent payments. Finding new housing through a local Housing Association, Katie was able to maintain this tenancy for a number of years, but, still struggling with addiction, she became involved in anti-social behaviour and found herself homeless.Safe in the knowledge that her children were with family, Katie sought help with her addiction to focus on herself and maintain her recovery, but her unstable housing situation and legal ramifications around her anti-social behaviour meant she didn’t know where to turn, or how to access the support she needed to turn her life around. When Katie joined Aspire’s Housing First project in June 2021, she was at her lowest point. Facing eviction from temporary accommodation, Katie had no option but to sleep rough, feeling stuck in a cycle of addiction and homelesssness.With encouragement from Housing First Support Worker Sam, Katie began to engage, and finally felt that turning her life around was within reach. Working with ‘Change, Grow Live’ and ‘Emerging Futures’, Katie was able to maintain her recovery, and met with Sam weekly to focus on her other immediate need - finding a new home. October 2021 saw Katie move into a new house with support from her housing association, and she hasn’t looked back!While initially nervous to take the plunge and move into a new house outside of the town she knew, Katie is thriving in her new community, making friends, focusing on her recovery and taking pride in the new home she shares with her cat, Lily. Katie’s new home has given her the space to focus on herself, where she can enjoy cooking again in her own kitchen, looking after her mental health, joining a gym, keeping in touch with her GP and continuing to work with her support worker Sam weekly to push on and achieve all her goals. "I love being in my house - moving here was the best idea! My relationships with my parents and daughters are amazing now." Get in touch To find out more about Aspire's Housing First projects, please contact Bhavan (Boo) Sagoo-Davies, Housing First project lead.If you need help today, please download a referral form and send it via email to [email protected].