What is “Housing First”?

“Housing first” means that people are offered shelter with no strings attached. No cost, no need to get “clean” or “dry” first, no deadlines or expiration dates. Limited rules focus solely on safety and security.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a “housing-first” model. . .

  • Is more likely than other forms of intervention to result in long-term positive outcomes, including
    • Ability to find (and keep) employment
    • Decreases in substance abuse and other causes of death/disability
    • Transition to permanent housing/independence 
  • Results in substantial savings* over other approaches 

Some states have made “housing first” into a political football. This usually has immediate and negative consequences for unhoused individuals and communities alike. If you are convinced that housing first does not work, please be part of the solution—help find something that will do a better job of helping the vulnerable among us.


* The largest study to date on Housing First found that for every $10 invested, savings might be as high as $9.60 – $21.42 

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