People become homeless for a wide variety of reasons, yet every person experiencing homelessness has one thing in common: they lack housing. Despite this somewhat obvious fact, providing housing is sometimes the last issue communities prioritize. Instead, people experiencing homelessness often hear, “We can provide housing for you, but …
- You need to get sober first.”
- You need to get a job first.”
- You need to take medication first.”
- You need to progress through x, y and z programs first.”
Housing First turns this strategy on its head. People are placed directly into housing as the first intervention, and then social workers help people address all of the other issues that might have led to that person’s homelessness in the first place.
Between October of 2017 and the spring of 2020, our community housed close to 200 chronically homeless people through Housing First.