Housing First Initiative

Topics: Homelessness, Homelessness in the United States Pages: 5 (970 words) Published: June 21, 2008
The Housing First Initiative 1

The Housing First Initiative:

A Plan to End Homelessness

Lissa Sellew

Introduction to Human Services, BSHS302

Therez Moya

June 16, 2008

The Housing First Initiative 2


The Housing First Initiative is a systematic method to end and prevent the reoccurrence of homelessness. The ideology behind Housing First is that homeless participants focus on obtaining permanent housing as a first step and work towards achieving goals towards self-sufficiency as a secondary objective. The dynamic component in the Housing First model is the collaboration between service providers within the community in order to promote independence for the participant and to deter cycles of homelessness (chronic homelessness). This cooperative action will be examined to demonstrate the potential for self-sufficiency and personal empowerment. A short comparison study of past homeless assistance programs that required pre-requisites to housing options will be presented in order to show the measurable success of the new Housing First Initiative (Tsemberis & Stefancic, 2007).

The Housing First Initiative 3

The Housing First Initiative:

A Plan to End Homelessness

In June of 2007, The National Coalition for the Homeless issued several fact sheets regarding the reasons why homelessness exists, the types of individuals facing homelessness, the methods by which states define and count the homeless and what efforts have been taken to cease homelessness in the United States. In the state of Utah, studies conducted by the Utah Homeless Coordinating Committee have shown that as high as .6% of the total population is homeless, at least 15,000 people annually (Flynn, 2007). Over the years, analysis of programs designed for the treatment of the condition of homelessness has shown to be ineffective as long-term solutions. A new strategy, called The Housing First Initiative, was implemented and has shown measurable success so far. The National Alliance to End Homelessness stated, “A central tenet of the Housing First approach is that social services to enhance individual and family well-being can be more effective when people are in their own home,” (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2006, 01).

In the past, most homeless shelters and programs were designed to address the reasons why individuals became homeless. Individuals in these programs did not have access to housing options until they completed rehabilitation programs. This model presented problems, as not all clients were able or willing to subscribe to particular treatment programs. It became a national effort to concentrate on one basic human

The Housing First Initiative 4

requirement first: the need for a safe and secure place to live (Tsemberis, Gulcur, & Nakae, 2004). Utah Department of Community and Culture published an article in March, 2005, entitled “Utah’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.” This plan reviews the need to place more emphasis obtaining housing first and continuing with supportive services after the homeless individual or family has been placed. Permanent housing options are a focus of the 10-year plan, including the acquisition of affordable housing units. Furthermore, the Homeless Coordination Committee was formed in order to develop tracking methods annually for the homeless (this is referred to as The Point-In-Time Count) and to allocate funding sources for programs concerning the homeless. (Utah Department of Community and Culture, 2008). Another highlight in this 10-year plan is the supportive services that will be implemented for those who are entering into permanent housing placements. The Road Home Community Shelter of Salt Lake City and other agencies provide case management services for Housing First Participants. Case managers assist in connecting participants with outside providers based on individual need areas. Some examples of community...

References: National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2006). What is Housing First?
Retrieved June 14, 2008,
Division of Housing and Community Development; Proposed Goal Statements. Retrieved June 14, 2008,
from http://housing.utah.gov/documents/HCD_Strategic_Plan_0809v1.pdf
Tsemberis, Sam., Gulcur, Leyla., & Nakae, Maria. (2004).
Housing First, Consumer Choice, and Harm Reduction for Homeless Individuals with a Dual Diagnosis. American Journal of Public Health, 94 (4), 651-656 . Retrieved June 14, 2008, from database.
Flynn Michelle, (2007). Becoming a Landlord Part I: Housing Development.
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Help Chronic Homeless. Retrieved June 14, 2008,
from http://www.hud.gov/local/ut/news/2008-05-09.cfm
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