A revolutionary new scheme under which rough sleepers are given a home straight away could be officially piloted here in Birmingham after showing success abroad.
The Housing First principle gives rough sleepers a permanent stable home and address rather than move them through various shelters, hostels and supported accommodation.
It has proved such a success in the USA, Finland and several other countries that the Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid is looking to pilot the scheme here - and the West Midlands is making a bid to be that test bed.
A full report will be on BBC Midlands Today, Tuesday 14 November at 6:30pm.
Until now rough sleepers have had to show signs of improved behaviour such as getting a job or training, avoiding anti-social behaviour or kicking an addiction before being rewarded with a home. But policy makers have found that many in hostels struggle and simply end up back on the streets as a result.
But those given a stable home first were much more likely to kick their bad habits, move away from their life on the streets and get back on their feet. Only once they have a stable home can they work on their other problems. It is estimated that the cost and risk of providing a permanent home is offset considerably by the reduction in demand for emergency and other frontline services.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street visited Finland last month, where Housing First is credited with making it the only European country to see a fall in long-term homelessness in recent years.
He said: “The Conservative Party manifesto offered a trial of Housing First so we have put in a bid and will know the outcome shortly.
“It gives an opportunity for people who are homeless for a new start - an apartment or shared house - somewhere they can call home. And from there they will be given services to help them rebuild their lives.
“It gives them stability. A solid foundation on which to build other things.”
In Finland a group called the Y-Foundation offers 16,300 low cost flats, many converted from former hostels which are no longer needed.
Mr Street has come back more convinced that Housing First could be useful here and contribute to cutting the numbers of rough sleepers in the city.
He added: “Housing First seems to be working in Finland, it may or may not work here or it may work differently - that is why we need this trial.”
And stressed that the Government is putting down money for the trial, so it will not divert cash from existing local housing budgets.