Ending Homelessness: Housing First Model

Authored by: Community Support Services

Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing

The goal of housing first is to quickly connect homeless individuals with permanent housing without preconditions.  Homelessness is a housing crisis that can be addressed through the provision of safe and affordable housing.  Historically, many housing programs have required homeless individuals to first participate and graduate from a short term residential or treatment program before obtaining permanent housing.  This philosophy requires the individual to prove that they are “ready” or “deserve” housing.  Housing First believes that everyone is “housing ready” and that housing programs need to be “consumer ready”.  There are a number of Core Concepts of the Housing First model:

  • Few to no programmatic prerequisites to permanent housing entry
  • Low barrier admission policies
  • Rapid and streamlined entry into housing
  • Supportive Services are voluntary, but can and should be used to persistently engage tenants to ensure housing stability
  • Tenants have full rights, responsibilities, and legal protections
  • Practices and policies to prevent lease violations and evictions
  • Applicable in a variety of housing models

Permanent Supportive housing is a combination of affordable housing and supportive services designed to help vulnerable individuals and families use stable housing as a platform for health, recovery and personal growth.  It focuses on balancing three distinct components of the model – housing, supportive services, and property and housing management.  The key components of Supportive housing are:

  • Targets individuals who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or inappropriately staying in an institution.
  • Is affordable, typically 30% of income
  • Provides tenants with a lease
  • Proactively engages individuals in services without requiring service participation
  • Coordinate with key partners to address issues resulting from substance use, mental health and other crises, with the goal of housing stability.
  • Support tenants in connecting with community-based resources and activities

Utilizing this approach to housing produces a number of positive outcomes including:

  • Tenants stay housed
  • Tenants are satisfied with the services and housing
  • Tenants increase their income and employment
  • Tenants improve their physical and mental health
  • Tenants have social and community connections

Community Support Services has embraced Permanent supportive Housing and Housing First for years.  As an agency, we pride ourselves on serving those individuals most in need.  This not only benefits the individual consumer, but extended family, and the community as a whole.  We utilize these philosophies in a number of different housing programs including scattered site housing programs like the Housing Assistance Program (HAP), North Coast Community Homes, and Shelter Plus Care.  The Safe Haven Programs and the Commons at Madaline Park are project based housing programs employing Housing First philosophy.