Pilot project

The Whole Housing Approach (WHA) was first conceptualised in 2018 by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) in collaboration with the National Housing and Domestic Abuse Policy and Practice Group.

Thanks to generous funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the first WHA project was piloted over 18 months from October 2018 to the end of March 2020.

A multi-agency project delivery team worked together to develop the WHA from concept to delivery and provided domestic abuse initiatives and practices across a range of accommodation settings and tenure types (social, private rented and privately owned).

Some of these initiatives are existing housing options while others are being introduced to England for the first time.

The WHA Guide offers an introduction to the model and why it's needed. It also describes the activities delivered and some early findings from this initial pilot. The guide is available to read below.

The group also produced a WHA toolkit with a section for each of its twelve components which offers practical guidance and resources for local areas to implement the WHA and deliver consistent practices for domestic abuse.

Some of the Whole Housing Approach components are inspired by the work of Professor Cris Sullivan and her colleagues at the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in particular mobile advocacy and flexible funding. The group developed the Domestic Violence Housing First approach and toolkit, which focuses on getting survivors into stable housing as quickly as possible and providing support to help rebuild their lives. This includes mobile advocacy and flexible funding financial support.

The Domestic Violence Housing First model in the USA context uses the Housing First concept to offer all survivors safe and stable housing, regardless of level of need, which best translates to what we know in the UK context as Move On Accommodation. Both are designed to offer survivors of domestic abuse longer term tenancies and includes domestic abuse support as part of making the transition to independent living.

In the UK, the Housing First model is used to house homeless survivors with high needs in their own, settled homes and provide wrap around intensive support. In the UK the Housing First approach has worked particularly well for those who have previously been stuck in the ‘revolving door’ of services and/or have experienced repeated or long-term homelessness.

Housing First is included as one of twelve components of the Whole Housing Approach. Move On Accommodation will be included as a new component to the WHA model and expected to be published by March 2021.