Home > Our services > Homeless Services  > Housing First

Housing First

Homelessness project in Bristol

Housing First aims to provide homes in Bristol for people with multiple disadvantage for whom traditional homelessness pathways don't work. Housing First provides rapid access to housing so people do not have to prove that they are ‘tenancy ready’. It also provides intense wrap around support to help people maintain their tenancies and start to address their other support needs.

Our Housing First services is now a protected part of our Higher Needs Floating Support Service. We remain committed to the Housing First model and exploring how to further deliver the model in the areas it supports.

“When you have a home, it takes the worries out of the way and you can move forward. That’s all it is.” – Tristan, Housing First client

Housing First was launched by the Golden Key partnership in spring 2018 in partnership with Second Step, Bristol City Council, and a number of housing providers: Live West, Brighter Places (formerly Solon and United Communities), Sovereign, Curo and Abri. Partnership working and collaboration are at the heart of our work.

Our evidence-based approach is based on internationally recognised key principles and has shown some great results addressing the issue of homelessness in Bristol, across the UK and in many countries around the world.

In Bristol, we have attempted to remain as true to the Housing First England model as much as possible. Research shows projects that follow its principles more closely are most effective at supporting clients (see key learning for more information).

We work with those with the most complex needs and people who have been long-term street homeless, i.e. had been homeless for five years or more. The multiple disadvantage our clients face, such as the combination of homelessness, mental health issues and addiction issues, can make traditional homelessness pathways difficult to access and navigate.

Our case workers support no more than seven clients at once, enabling them to build strong relationships based on partnership working, trust, and consistency.

We take a psychological, adversity and trauma-informed approach in the way we work and in how we support our clients. We recognise that most of our clients have a history of trauma which impacts their support needs and how they engage with services and their support workers. Our aim is to provide person-centred support which prioritises individual choice and control and developing strong relationships between clients and their support workers. Read more about our psychological, adversity and trauma-informed approach here.

“I don’t know where I’d be without Housing First. They need to use that system for more people” – Olivia, Housing First client

Client stories

Both Tristan and Olivia were struggling with substance use and homelessness, and felt there was no way out until they met Housing First. Watch their videos below to hear them tell their stories and how Housing First changed their lives.

Tristan's story - "When I got told about Housing First I knew there was an end in sight. It gave me hope"

Olivia's story - "Housing First has turned my life around"

Housing First's Impact

clients housed in 2022
average number of years our clients spent homeless before Housing First
reduction in A&E attendance for our Housing First clients
of clients are sustaining their tenancies
reduction in arrests reported by our Housing First clients

Bristol Housing First: Key learning

Read Golden Key’s report which highlights the learning from Bristol Housing First through the experiences of staff and the perspectives of clients. It gives an overview of the benefits, the importance of maintaining high fidelity to the Housing First model, and examines challenges to implementation.

WATCH: Housing First: Key Learning

WATCH: Reflections: Steven Pratt