Two Birmingham organisations have been recognised nationally for their pioneering work in cutting the number of rough sleepers in the city by 80 per cent.
Only three of the gold a wards, run by the Government-backed Housing Corporation, were awarded across the UK, with Birmingham's St Basil's and Midland Heart housing organisations winning two of these.
Both associations work in partnership with Birmingham City Council, which provides significant funding for home-lessness services.
Their joint working has seen the number of people sleeping rough on the city's streets reduce from over 50 to single figures.
Jean Templeton, St Basil's chief executive, said: "We are delighted to be selected as winners of this the first 'Gold' award and look forward to sharing our expertise across the country.
"Over many years St Basil's has provided quality accommodation and support for thousands of young people and we continue to do so. However, we have moved on towards preventing homelessness in the first place.
"We have developed a whole range of innovative projects working with schools, families, youth services, neighbourhood offices and youth offending teams. We work alongside local authorities and others, building strong partnerships, utilising our experiences and resources. Homelessness should not be a part of growing up!"
Richard Clark OBE, chief executive officer of Midland Heart, said: "We are absolutely delighted to win this highly-coveted award - it recognises the huge range of pioneering work that has been done over the last few years in helping homeless people."
He said that reducing the number of rough sleepers on the streets of Birmingham by over 80 per cent in a four year period was the culmination of a raft initiatives implemented by the organisation.
He said: "We have a team of outreach workers who operate in part-nership with the city council, finding people sleeping on the streets, building partnerships with them and bringing them in from the cold." ..SUPL: