SANDWELL is among councils in the West Midlands that are missing homelessness targets on a multi-million pound housing initiative, it has been revealed.

Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Solihull and Coventry are all below target for the first year of the £9.6 million Housing First scheme, which was set up to help tackle the region’s ongoing homelessness crisis.

The scheme aims to see a combined total of 675 homeless people housed over a three year period.

Funded through a grant from central government, Housing First works with councils, housing associations and support groups to help rough sleepers break the cycle of decline which has landed them on the streets.

Instead of only offering housing to rough sleepers once they are ‘housing ready’, the new scheme starts by putting homeless people into a home, before building a support network around them through wraparound care.

The scheme was officially launched in November last year, with a goal of helping 225 homeless people find a home each year.

However the actual figures for the first year show that 81 people have been housed through the scheme – just 36 per cent of the target.

A further 75 people have been ‘accepted but not housed’ through the scheme, making a total of 156, but some councils have had far more success than others.

Sandwell Council has a target of housing 60 people across the three years, averaging out at 20 people per year.

However, according to figures from Birmingham City Council, just two people have so far been housed in Sandwell, with a further five accepted on to the scheme.

A spokesperson for Sandwell Council said: “Our Housing First scheme has only very recently been set up and we have already offered homes to five people.

“We are aiming to house 55 people through Housing First over the next two years.

“We now have Accord Housing in place who will be working with the council and partners to deliver the scheme.

“We are confident that we’ll meet the target of housing 55 people by the end of 2021.”

One exception to the general rule in the first year of Housing First was Dudley, which despite its target of 10 people per year has already housed 11 and accepted a further 10 on to the scheme.