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The Fair Chance Fund was an innovative three-year programme, funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Cabinet Office / Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and designed to improve accommodation, education and employment outcomes for homeless young people aged 18 to 24. 

The programme targeted homeless young people not in education, training or employment (NEET), defined as not being in priority need according to the homelessness legislation and facing a range of barriers to securing and sustaining accommodation and employment. It was funded on a 100% payment by results (PbR) basis, with projects being backed by social impact bonds (SIBs) following a competitive bidding process. Social investors funded project providers to set up and deliver services, recouping their investments as and when outcomes were achieved, and triggering payments against a set of specific metrics and tariffs. 

The programme was launched in January 2015 for a three-year period ending in December 2017, with referrals being restricted to the first year to allow time for outcomes to be achieved (and payments claimed) before programme end. Local authorities played a central role in referring participants through their involvement in local ‘referral gateways’, to avoid the risk of cherry picking/efforts focussing on those most likely to achieve outcomes. 

ICF was commissioned to evaluate the Fair Chance Fund (FCF), in association with the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York and Crunch Consulting. The evaluation aimed to assess whether this type of intervention is effective in improving outcomes for (homeless) young people1. It followed a mixed methods approach, which included the analysis of project management information, three rounds of case study fieldwork with providers, local authorities and young people, consultations with investors and intermediaries, and a set of costed case studies.