Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.


The principles behind this approach are:

  • Move people into housing directly from streets and shelters without preconditions of treatment acceptance or compliance;
  • The provider is obligated to bring robust support services to the housing. These services are predicated on assertive engagement, not coercion;
  • The continued tenancy is not dependent on participation in services;
  • Units targeted to most disabled and vulnerable homeless members of the community;
  • Embraces harm-reduction approach to addictions rather than mandating abstinence. At the same time, the provider must be prepared to support resident commitment to recovery;
  • Residents must have leases and tenant protections under the law;
  • Can be implemented as either a project-based or scattered-site model.

This means that Housing First gives homeless people “housing first” before it does anything else. Housing First separates housing and support!