Housing First is an overarching philosophy with a core set of principles that have implications for systems approaches to ending homelessness and for program models. The core principles described earlier (e.g., immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements, consumer choice and self-determination) underlie and guide both systems approaches to ending homelessness and program models.
A Housing First systems approach focuses on cohesive community planning to develop coordinated, complementary programs and policies to end homelessness that are consistent with Housing First principles and practice. These feature a common intake system to Housing First programs, whether from the street, from emergency shelters, or people coming out of institutions who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Housing First as a program focuses on specific program models targeted at particular homeless populations (e.g., adults with mental illness and co-occurring addictions, families with children, youth) to reduce or eliminate homelessness and promote the wellbeing of these populations. The distinctions between systems and program interventions, and their alignment with the principles of Housing First, are depicted in this table.
Most supportive housing approaches or â€ścontinuum of careâ€ť models provide housing only in places with built-in clinical support services. This means that the landlord and service-provider functions are integrated in the same agency. Additionally, supportive housing approaches often mandate clients to achieve and maintain sobriety, in addition to receiving ongoing psychiatric services.
These NFB films show empowerment is an important principle of support.
Housing First is from the United States and only relevant within the United States.
Housing First has been widely implemented in Canada and throughout the world.
Provinces, states and countries with documentation
of Housing First implementation
In Vancouver, At Home/Chez Soi was cited as one of the reasons for a reduction in homelessness, as calculated by a count.
Recent research in Vancouver estimates a cost savings of 30 per cent by giving people who are homeless stable housing.
Housing First in Calgary has been so successful there have been shelter bed closures.
A Canadian study found traditional institutional responses to homelessness (the prison system and psychiatric hospitals) substantively more expensive (estimated annual costs: $66 000 â€“ $120 000) than investments in supportive housing (estimated annual costs: $13 000 â€“ $18 000)
At Home/Chez Soi has substantively added to the evidence base for Housing First in Canada. This study found the following:29
See the map below to find out more about how the At Home/Chez Soi
adapted the HF intervention to meet the needs of its participants.
View these clips from the National Film Board and Pathways to Housing to see
how participants experience the Housing First intervention.