Expanding Choice, Addressing Need: Addressing Housing Need through the Enhanced Housing Options Approach

Expanding Choice, Addressing Need: Addressing Housing Need through the Enhanced Housing Options Approach

The Enhanced Housing Options Approach is a new way of providing housing advice which empowers clients and transforms lives. John Hills’ review on the future role of social housing in England, published in February 2007, highlighted the success of the ‘housing options approach’ in preventing homelessness, and also praised other ‘choice-based’ services such as Choice-Based Lettings (CBL) schemes. He saw the value in services which “treat those in need of housing support in a more adult way…moving towards a system where people make more of their own choices from a wider range of options, providing support when people need it”. He suggested that the excellent work already being carried out by many local authorities around the provision of housing advice and support could form the baseline for more holistic ‘enhanced’ housing options services, offering advice around a wider range of issues to a wider audience. The housing options approach fundamentally transforms the way that those in housing need interact with providers of housing advice. It empowers people by giving them information and advice about the options and services available and enables them to make informed decisions. The scope for the development of housing options services, and the application of the housing options approach, is vast. Many local authorities have developed effective housing options services and are already realising the benefits. However, there is scope to do a lot more. To promote an ‘enhanced’ housing options approach, Communities and Local Government is inviting bids from local authorities for two programmes of ‘trailblazers.’The first programme of five trailblazers in 2008/09 is for local authorities interested in further enhancing their already strong housing options services and becoming ‘mentors’ to disseminate good practice. The second programme to run in 2009/10 is for 10 trailblazers keen to develop enhanced housing options services with guidance and support from the mentoring authorities. Our two trailblazer programmes will run with a view to developing a ‘tool kit’ of good practice, to be disseminated to all local authorities. In funding a series of housing options trailblazer programmes, Communities and Local Government is committed to supporting, monitoring and evaluating an enhanced housing options approach, and disseminating good practice. This document outlines our vision for enhanced housing options services, and sets out how the trailblazer programmes will operate. There are case studies throughout of particularly impressive services which are already developing along enhanced housing options lines.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2008
LOCATION: England

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