Housing First Feasibility Study Torbay (2018)

This feasibility study builds on the Housing First Feasibility Study for Liverpool City Region (2017) and looks to investigate and evidence how Housing First housing-led models of support for homeless people could have benefits in other parts of the UK. This study was undertaken by Crisis in Torbay. This report has been commissioned by Shekinah, funded by the Nationwide Foundation and in partnership with Torbay Council and Westward Housing.

Key Findings

  • There is high demand and unmet need in relation to homelessness services in Torbay. Overall, the homelessness system is disjointed, without a clear sense of pathway from prevention, to intervention, to recovery and then move on for everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness. Individual interventions at each stage can be successful but there are few examples of people moving through each stage seamlessly and out of homelessness for good. 
  • There is a significant use of emergency accommodation for single people considered to be in priority need as per Homelessness Legislation. The proportion of single people to families in emergency accommodation in Torbay is 65% whereas the national average is 20%. Some of these options can be unsuitable for people with complex needs.The data suggests that the current supported accommodation system is supporting some people (roughly 50%) out of homelessness and into more settled housing; but that there isn’t capacity within the system to do this for more people.
  • People with lived experience of homelessness told us they thought that support to help people exit homelessness should include: emotional support; peer support; non-judgemental support; independence; opportunities for rehabilitation and longer term planning; and structure and purpose.
  • The private rented sector has considerable potential to provide housing supply for Housing First. A proposal for a management and/or lease offer to private landlords and agents through a Social Lettings Agency has been welcomed and has the twin benefit of addressing empty homes.
  • Local housing associations are keen to contribute to support a Housing First approach but will require reassurance on the nature of the support tenants will be provided with and the length of time support will be available for.
  • The study proposes a potential Housing First model which should be put forward for further discussion and consultation with local commissioners and providers. The model proposed aims to end homelessness in Torbay which is a more ambitious target than simply replacing the existing capacity of the system, which is not sufficient to meet the full need.
  • We estimate that Housing First would be nearly 2 times more cost effective at achieving a successful outcome for homeless people with complex needs than the current provision in Torbay.


Hancock, C. (2017) Housing First Feasibility Study Torbay. London: Crisis