What we do Housing Housing first The solution to homelessness is permanent affordable housing with a tailored support package for each person for as long as they need it. Housing-led approach since 2013 We have been working to a housing-led approach since 2013. More recently, we have been enhancing our capacity to deliver Housing First here in Cork - working to our vision of a society without homelessness. Through the application of Housing First principles – offering housing at the earliest opportunity without preconditions together with support in line with the tenant's wishes, we have ended homelessness for many of those who had spent the longest periods on the streets and in shelters, and for those with the most complex support needs. More than 85% of those we housed in 2013 were still housed at the end of 2015 with just 15% having returned to emergency accommodation. Housing First: Five Key Principles How Housing First works The aim of Housing First is to minimise the number of steps and the amount of time a person has to take from the point of becoming homeless to the point of being rehoused. The aim is to make sure that people experiencing homelessness are provided with affordable housing and any necessary supports as quickly as possible. This model stands in contrast to so called ‘linear’ models of services where people experiencing homelessness are expected to graduate through multiple forms of emergency and transitional accommodation and associated programmes before being deemed ‘housing ready’, and provided with an offer of permanent affordable accommodation. These ‘staircase’ models have become increasingly discredited because of their ‘significantly lower effectiveness’ in ending chronic homelessness when compared to the Housing First model. Research indicates that a majority of chronically homeless people either disengage or get ‘stuck’ unable to ever complete enough ‘steps’ on the staircase to reach housing’. Housing First provides immediate or near-immediate re-housing without any requirement that people experiencing homelessness show themselves to be ‘housing ready’ before they are re-housed. Support to sustain their housing and improve their health, wellbeing and social integration is provided to tenants in their own home, and use of that support is something over which they exercise considerable choice and control. Cork Simon's Housing First team Our Housing First team start supporting people while they are sleeping rough or staying in emergency accommodation. People long-term homeless are prioritised. The team provides support in finding and securing appropriate, affordable housing - from our own stock of housing, through our social rentals programme or through the private rented sector, from other approved housing bodies or in public housing. The team completes a comprehensive needs assessment with each person which helps identify the supports they need to help sustain their tenancy and improve their health, wellbeing and social integration. We offer these supports to each person in their own home. They exercise considerable choice and control over how they use those supports, which are reviewed and updated regularly and remain in place for as long as each person needs.