Housing First

Housing first is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.  People experiencing homelessness are faced with few to no treatment preconditions or barriers. The approach is based on overwhelming evidence that all people experiencing homelessness can achieve stability in permanent housing if provided with the appropriate levels of services. Studies show that housing first approaches yield high housing retention rates, reduce the use of crisis services and institutions, and improve people's health and social outcomes.1

Harm reduction and housing first are effective approaches to addressing homelessness, especially for people with complex service needs.  These approaches should inform work across a system, guiding the overall role of shelters, outreach services and permanent housing interventions.