Housing First Approach
Housing First is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing services as needed. What differentiates a Housing First approach from traditional emergency shelter or transitional housing approaches is that it is “housing-based,” with an immediate and primary focus on helping individuals and families quickly access and sustain permanent housing. This approach has the benefit of being consistent with what most people experiencing homelessness want and seek help to achieve.
Housing First programs share critical elements:
There is a focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing as quickly as possible;
A variety of services are delivered primarily following a housing placement to promote housing stability and individual well-being;
Such services are time-limited or long-term depending upon individual need;
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. The vast majority of homeless individuals and families do not experience chronic homelessness. Most often they have experienced a housing or personal crisis that led them to seek help from the homeless shelter system.