CTI Project

Supporting newly arrived refugees through Critical Time Intervention

Crisis is funding ACH through its Best Practice grant programme to run a Critical Time Intervention (CTI) programme for refugees. This is the only CTI project working with this group in the UK that we are aware of. This blog, co-authored by Crisis and ACH, explains what the CTI model is and how we hope to end more people’s homelessness together. This blog has also been posted on the Crisis website.

Everyone needs somewhere safe, secure and affordable to live. However, we know that ending homelessness is not just about providing bricks and mortar, but also about providing the support needed for someone to keep that home. - Sarah Walters

Sarah Walters, Head of Best Practice, Crisis

Everyone needs somewhere safe, secure and affordable to live. However, we know that ending homelessness is not just about providing bricks and mortar, but also about providing the support needed for someone to keep that home. The level of support needed varies from person to person, and, for those who need some help, the Critical Time Intervention (CTI) model may be the ideal solution.

CTI was developed in the United States in the 1980s as a way of supporting men to move from large communal shelters into their own accommodation. It’s been adapted in various contexts since, but always to help people through a critical transition in their lives - at a time when they may have reduced social capital but are asked to integrate into complex and disjointed systems. The CTI model is prescriptive, and process driven. An evidence-based approach, it comprises three distinct phases of support, decreasing in intensity as beneficiaries are supported to link into the community and their networks are scoped, tested and established.

Crisis is delighted to be working with ACH to test whether the CTI model is effective for refugees with newly given status, as they transition to life in the UK. We think this is the first time in the UK that this innovative model has been used in this way.

We are comparing our progress with other CTI pilots being run by Crisis, in our Merseyside and South Wales Skylight Centres, for people being released from prison who need support to resettle in the community. The initial findings are very positive. All projects indicate that this support method is effective and helps tenancies be successfully sustained.

We are excited to collaborate with ACH and add to the evidence about what works to end homelessness. ACH’s expertise in integration gives us confidence that through our work we’ll see real change happen for refugees, and together, we can establish a model that gets more people into safe homes with the community support they need.

Emma Gaspar, Support and Integration Team Leader, and Tom Dixon, Research and Projects Lead, ACH

At ACH, we provide tailored integration and support services for newly arrived refugees through our supported housing and employment services. Our supported housing helps tenants build lives in the UK after receiving their leave to remain. We believe that with increased access to support, training and education, we can create spaces and opportunities for newly arrived communities to thrive.

Critical Time Intervention (CTI) has allowed us to build upon our holistic, client-centred support model, making our service more structured through three-month stages. The aim of the CTI pilot is to test whether a more structured, time-limited support program in the post asylum transition period will result in newly arrived refugees integrating more quickly into UK society, which will be beneficial both for them and the wider society.

Collaboration has been instrumental to the CTI pilot. Working in partnership with Crisis on the development and implementation of the CTI methodology has helped us make it more effective. Crisis has supported ACH to develop evaluative structures to maximise the impact of the data we collect and make adjustments to better support our tenants.

CTI has also allowed us to place greater emphasis on collaborating with our tenants on setting goals for every stage of the process, which are then regularly reviewed. This supports our tenants, helping them to recognise the progress they have made and the further steps they would like to take. CTI helps our tenants maintain momentum, and to progress towards independent living.

The CTI framework also includes Integrass, our bespoke integration toolkit, this measures and individual’s level of integratedness. Regularly completing these assessments with tenants gives a holistic picture of their integration progress – looking at integration as a whole, as opposed to the traditional focus on language acquisition and employability.

In the future, we will continue to use the CTI model in our support services. Implementing the CTI methodology has led us to reevaluate our previous support model and inspire us to think of new ways to provide support. CTI helps us place even greater emphasis on the importance of move-on into independent living in the UK. Upon completion of the pilot, we will use the findings to make the model more effective for our refugee service users. We will then roll-out the CTI model across the other three cities in which we operate, providing the most effective refugee integration service for all of our tenants. 


Get in touch with us at info@ach.org.uk or bestpractice@crisis.org.uk to find out more about the project