Housing First

Housing First is a successful and transformational housing model used in a number of Canadian and American communities and is at the heart of all successful 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness.

Housing First puts the priority on a rapid and direct move from homelessness to housing, instead of requiring people to graduate through a series of steps before getting into permanent housing.

There are four core principles to Housing First:

  • consumer choice and self-determination;
  • immediate access to permanent housing with the support necessary to sustain it;
  • housing is not conditional on sobriety or program participation;
  • social inclusion, self-sufficiency and improved quality of life and health.

There are a range of different types of Housing First programs to address different populations’ needs, from Assertive Community Treatment to Intensive Care Management. Housing First can also exist within different housing forms, from scattered site housing in the private rental marketplace, to housing in mixed affordable housing, to permanent supportive housing. The housing form appropriate for your client will be dictated by client choice, needs and the housing market in your community.

Additional Resources

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Housing First: Wikipedia

See Housing First in action: Home at Last. PBS Now

At Home/Chez Soi: Canadian Mental Health Commission

The Applicability of Housing First Models to Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness: U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

Pathways to Housing: Supported Housing for Street-Dwelling Homeless Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities: Sam Tsemberis, Ph.D.; Ronda F. Eisenberg, M.A.

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