The Housing First Approach

Housing First, Inc. takes its name from the Housing First Model of homelessness assistance. This research-driven model seeks to provide those experiencing homelessness with rapid access to housing without barriers or preconditions. Once housed, we provide the necessary supportive services and community-based assistance to help the individual retain housing and prevent returns to homelessness. In addition to housing, many of our clients receive job training, GEDs, financial literacy training, legal assistance, life skills training, mental health and outpatient health services, and substance abuse treatment through active case management by Housing First professionals.

Housing First programs share critical elements:

  • A focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain rental housing as quickly as possible without time limits;

  • A variety of services delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis; and

  • A standard lease agreement to housing – as opposed to mandated therapy or services compliance.

  • two men smiling
  • smiling man lounging on a couch
  • woman smiling next to a car

While all Housing First programs share these critical elements, program models vary significantly depending upon the population served. For people who have experienced chronic homelessness, there is an expectation that intensive (and often specialized) services will be needed indefinitely.

For most people experiencing homelessness, however, such intensive services are not necessary. The vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis that led them to seek help from the homeless assistance system. For these families and individuals, the Housing First approach is ideal, as it provides them with assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions. In turn, such clients of the homeless assistance networks need surprisingly little support or assistance to achieve independence, saving the system considerable costs.

Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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