BENEFITS OF HOUSING FIRST
Housing First prioritizes human dignity and immediate stability, facilitates improved outcomes, and benefits not only people experiencing homelessness but also the local homeless services system, individual service providers, and the broader community.
In helping to align Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s service provision with high fidelity Housing First practice, the community can expect to achieve outcomes similar to what has been achieved by Pathways to Housing PA and in the research conducted with other Housing First programs across the world—
- Increased rates of housing retention and stability
- Increased medication compliance and treatment adherence for physical health conditions, psychiatric disabilities, and substance use disorders
- Decreased hospitalization time, both physical and behavioral health
- Decreased prison system episodes
- Increased rates of participant satisfaction
- Significant cost savings
The Housing First model was developed to serve some of the hardest to reach individuals in our communities— Individuals with histories of chronic homelessness, severe persistent mental illness, and substance use disorders— those for whom the traditional “recovery first” way of housing has not worked. Aligning Charlotte-Mecklenburg service provision with high fidelity Housing First will allow programs to better meet the needs of those who have been traditionally underserved or left behind entirely, including those considered “treatment resistant” or “hard to house.” Housing First emphasizes a person-centered approach to care that allows participants to have more autonomy and choice, resulting in increased treatment adherence, participant satisfaction, and housing retention. This lessens the burden on the homeless services system and improves conditions for the overall community by moving individuals from encampments and public spaces to their own private residences where service providers can better address their needs.
The Housing First model calls for an interdisciplinary team approach to case management, using Assertive Community Treatment or Intensive Case Management teams, which can lessen the burden on individual case managers, decreasing burnout, and improving job satisfaction and employee retention. Admittedly, Housing First work is not for the faint of heart. But those working in Housing First programs, with a true understanding and buy-in for the mission, will be rewarded with incredibly meaningful work and the gift of watching lives change for the better. Seeing an individual through the entire process, from street outreach to housing to employment and even eventual graduation from the program, is a truly incredible thing to bear witness to.
If you are interested in attending the remaining sessions of HFU, please reach out to email@example.com. All local training materials for Housing First University can be accessed here: Housing First University: Training Materials.