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Housing First Guide Europe!

What is the Guide?

The Guide is a resource about Housing First in Europe. It has been designed to explain what Housing First is and how it actually works in a range of European contexts. It sets out the core principles of Housing First and shows how these are implemented in different settings.

The Guide is the first European resource of its kind. As Housing First has taken off in Europe, a growing demand has emerged for knowledge and expertise. Until now, much of the available material has come from North America. There was a need for practical guidance bringing together existing knowledge and experience on doing Housing First in European contexts. That’s why we created this Guide. It complements similar manuals developed in the US (Tsemberis 2010) and Canada (Canadian Housing First Toolkit).

Who is the Guide for?

The Guide is for people who want to know more about what Housing First means and how it works in Europe. It aims to support practitioners and policy makers who are implementing, or interested in developing, Housing First. Users of the Guide will include managers and frontline staff of homeless services; people working in related sectors such as health and housing; national and local policy-makers; researchers; people with experience of homelessness and other stakeholders.

Who produced the Guide?

FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, has coordinated the production of the Guide thanks to funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. An Advisory Board of experts from different disciplines and countries supported the creation of written and audio-visual materials. The Guide was discussed by additional experts in a range of focus groups involving practitioners and service users. Over a two year period, we reached out to a wide variety of stakeholders to provide input into the Guide.


FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, was established in 1989. It aims to prevent and alleviate the poverty and social exclusion of people threatened by or living in homelessness. FEANTSA currently has more than 130 member organisations, working in close to 30 European countries, including 25 EU Member States. FEANTSA works closely with the EU institutions, and has consultative status at the Council of Europe and the United Nations. It receives financial support from the European Commission.

María Jose Aldanas (Project Officer) and Ruth Owen (Policy Coordinator) were in charge of developing the Guide.

The Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is a panel of experts from different countries. They are relevant policymakers, service providers, training providers and researchers who have strong expertise on Housing First. The board met six times from 2014 to 2016 to shape the production of the Guide. The Board contributed to and reviewed each module and the supporting materials. The members of the Advisory Board are:

Sam Tsemberis

Clinical-community psychologist and founder of Pathways to Housing. Developed the Housing First model. Faculty, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center
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Juha Kaakinen

Director of Y Foundation
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Eoin O’Sullivan

Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin.
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Vic Rayner

CEO of Sitra.
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Birthe Povlsen

Consultant at National Board of Social Services who are implementing the Danish Housing First strategy.
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Roberto Bernad

Project Evaluation and Quality Director in RAIS Foundation, developing Housing First in Spain.
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Marco Iazzolino

Director of Network Housing First Italia.
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Judith R.L.M. Wolf

Professor of Social Care and head of Impuls, the Netherlands Center for Social Care Research, at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center.
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photo Teresa
Teresa Duarte

Associação Para o Estudo e Integração Psicossocial (AIEPS).
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First and foremost, FEANTSA would like to thank all the members of the Advisory Board.

Special thanks go to Nicholas Pleace, the author, for his commitment to the Guide and his adaptability to the needs of the project.


We are equally grateful to all those who discussed the Guide in focus groups and meetings and who provided input when we contacted them.

FEANTSA particularly wishes to extend its sincere thanks to Stephane Leclercq of Mutation Production and all those who participated in the videos in the cities of Newcastle, Glasgow, Utrecht, Madrid, Paris, Helsinki, Charleroi and Brussels.


We gratefully acknowledge the funding of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, SNF, who approved an international grant in 2014 to produce the Housing First Guide Europe within their social welfare program. The SNF is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organisations, making grants to non-profit organisations.


The author

Nicholas Pleace

The author of the six chapters and the consolidated text of the Guide is Nicholas Pleace. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York.