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25 Mar

Improving Health and Social Integration through Housing First. A Review

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Pleace, N. and Quilgars, D. (2013) DIHAL/ FEANTSA

 

Housing First services provide chronically homeless people with ordinary housing in the community without expecting them to be ‘housing ready’ as traditional staircase homelessness services usually do. Support is provided by mobile support workers and specialist teams delivering Intensive Case Management and/or Assertive Community Treatment to address mental health problems and/or drug and alcohol issues. The provision of choice, within a harm reduction and recovery service orientation, is central to the Housing First philosophy. It is generally accepted, across policy and academic networks, that the Pathways Housing First approach in the USA has proved successful in ending sustained and recurrent homelessness in chronically homeless people.

Following this success, Housing First services (based on Pathways, though sometimes with adaptations) have been developed in Canada, Australia and a number of European countries (including the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and Portugal). Similarly high levels of housing sustainment have been achieved to date.
However, to date, less attention has been focused on what happens after homeless people have been successfully rehoused. This Review examined the available evidence on the extent to which Housing First services are effective in promoting health and social and economic inclusion. It also considered the extent to which these supports can be enhanced, and any potential limits to Housing First.