The Case for Housing First

Cost Savings, Rapid Re-Housing and
New Opportunities Through Health Care Reform

The Case for Housing First“Housing First says something that is fairly intuitive – that people do better when they are stabilized in housing as soon as possible.” The Spring 2012 issue of Shelterforce magazine featured an article, “Housing First”, co-authored by Nan Roman and Lisa Stand for the National Alliance to End Homelessness (the Alliance.) Roman is the Alliance’s President and CEO and Stand is a Senior Policy Analyst.

In the article, the authors make a compelling case for the Housing First model and include the typical steps of Housing First:

  • Crisis resolution and assessment,
  • Housing placement, and
  • Service connections.

And they include examples of successful Housing First initiatives in:

  1. Quincy, Massachusetts,
  2. Wichita, Kansas, and
  3. Seattle, Washington.

A study of the 1811 Eastlake Housing First program in Seattle found that, “in the year prior to moving into 1811 Eastlake, tenants averaged $4,066 per month in costs to those public services examined, including corrections, shelter, substance abuse treatment, and health care. After moving into 1811 Eastlake, the study found that the average cost offset per person per month was $2,449.”

The authors also make the connection to rapid rehousing, another name for Housing First, which is often used to assist families and individuals who become homeless for economic reasons.

They make the case that the entire housing community, not just homeless providers and advocates should look to Housing First because the model has proven to improve outcomes in health care and education as well as housing. And the American Care Act (ACA) could be the public policy opportunity to connect the housing and health care silos. “The Housing First model points out, however, that without housing, the performance of these other systems is impeded, their outcomes are adversely affected, and their costs can go up.

Click here to read the entire article.