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Former Prime Minister Theresa May joined West Midlands Mayor Andy Street as they visited a programme which helps tackle homelessness in Walsall.
The Housing First programme, run by 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.
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.
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."
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.
“Ending homelessness is not just about providing accommodation. We are incredibly proud to offer this life changing approach providing permanent homes and tailored support to enable people to rebuild their lives.”
Paul Wright Operations Director for Specialist Support at GreenSquareAccord said: “Our Housing First approach is making a real difference to people’s lives. There are many factors that can lead to an individual becoming homeless.
"Providing permanent accommodation offers a foundation of stability, which coupled with ongoing personalised support is enabling our service users to maintain their tenancies and make positive choices in their lives.”
whg’s Corporate Director of Operations Fay Shanahan said: “Through our work with our partners we are making huge strides in addressing the rough sleeping crisis in the Midlands. However, the challenges of homelessness have not gone away and in fact our focus now needs to be on the problems of hidden homelessness.
"It would make a huge difference to Housing First if the Government could commit to funding this initiative beyond the current deadline of 2023.
“The Housing First project is such a vital initiative and I was delighted that Mrs May was able to see first-hand the real impact projects like this are making to not just get people off the streets but also to transform lives so dramatically.”