LiveWest lands Golden Key Great Practice award

24 January 2019

LiveWest’s neighbourhood team was showered with praise after scooping a prestigious award for its work in tackling homelessness.

Having been the key landlord from the outset of the Bristol First project – a scheme aimed at housing homeless people in Bristol – our work was recognised by the first Golden Key Great Practice Awards.

We landed the 'teams / or projects who are doing things differently to improve services for people with complex needs’ award.

Deputy Mayor of Bristol, Asher Craig, announced the winners at a glitzy ceremony in central Bristol.

Head of Neighbourhoods James Reseigh said: “We are delighted to have been given this award.

“Emma Young and Jane Harraway have been fantastic in the work they’ve done. It was a great event and LiveWest has had some very positive comments from many organisations for our support as the trailblazing landlord who started Housing First in Bristol.”

The awards were designed to celebrate the good work taking place to provide better support for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Our neighbourhood team has demonstrated a great deal of flexibility and challenged convention in finding solutions to complex issues around homelessness.

One of our notable successes has been to re-house an individual who had lived on the streets for 32 years.

James added: “It reminds all of us why we do what we do. The social impact Live West has had on people’s lives is truly motivating and inspiring.

“We play a vital role across Bristol and the whole of the south west given that we hand over the keys to 40 new customers who move into one of our homes every week.

“Making a difference to people’s lives is so rewarding.”

LiveWest Tenancy Team Leader Emma Young said: “We are so pleased to have won this award.

“We worked really hard to build our relationships with the Housing First team and get to know our customers. Some parts have been a challenge and there has been lots of learning along the way, as well as some great success stories.

“We have learnt that as a housing association we need to be adaptable if we want the project to be a success.”

The Housing First project praised our contribution, highlighting how we have embraced the spirit of providing a different approach to tackling long-term homelessness but also setting the benchmark for how it can actually work in practice.

The project commented: “From their genuinely collaborative approach and constant good-natured communication through to their thoughtful allocation decisions and a willingness to flex around many of the processes and timescales around sign up, LiveWest has worked closely with us to support our clients quickly and smoothly into high-quality accommodation.

“Always open and honest around risks they’ve demonstrated considerable experience and resilience and a readiness to look beyond the issues and histories that can often act as barriers to these clients being housed, reflecting a real belief in the core Housing First principle that everyone is entitled to a home.”

LiveWest's Lettings Team Leader Jane Harroway said: "It was a surprise to be nominated, and an even bigger surprise to be the overall winner of the team category.

"Being a pilot scheme from the start you never know how it’s going to work out, but with everyone’s hard work, across many organisations and colleagues in LiveWest, this has been truly successful.

"Our commitment to the housing first project with an open-minded approach to who we are willing to house, has helped to turn some of the most vulnerable peoples’ lives around. A home provides a base, it ’s just the start and it really does reinforce our approach that a home is for everyone.

Golden Key is a partnership of organisations working with people in Bristol who are experiencing a mix of homelessness, mental health problems, drugs and alcohol dependency, and offending behaviour.

In partnership with housing associations and the city council, Golden Key set up a Housing First pilot in Bristol in Spring 2018.

It has now housed five clients with a further two being housed this month, all of whom have a history of complex needs and long-term homelessness.

Housing First is about giving clients their own flat straight away rather than requiring them to go through a pathway, where they might have to start in a hostel, then move them into shared accommodation and so on.