The five principles of Housing First
Housing First is based on the premise that housing is a basic human right. There are no preconditions to receiving housing. The model focuses on client-led recovery, choice of housing and supports, a separation of housing and support services, community and social integration and the availability of wrap around support for as long as it is needed.
1. Immediate access to housing with no housing readiness conditions
- Housing First prioritises access to housing as quickly as possible.
- Eligibility for housing is not contingent on any conditions other than willingness to maintain a tenancy.
- The housing provided is based on suitability (stability, choice, affordability, quality, community integration) rather than the type of housing.
- The individual will not lose their housing if they disengage or no longer require the support.
- The individual will be given their own tenancy agreement.
2. Consumer choice and self-determination
This means that people…
- Choose the type of housing they have.
- Have the choice, where possible, about where they live.
- Have the option not to engage with other services as long as there is regular contact with the Housing First team.
- Choose where, when and how support is provided by the Housing First team.
- Are supported through person-centred planning and are given the lead to shape the support they receive; goals are not set by the service provider.
- There are clear pathways into, and out of, the Housing First service.
3. A harm reduction and recovery-orientation approach
- People are supported holistically.
- Staff support individuals who use substances to reduce immediate and ongoing harm to their health.
- Staff support individuals who self-harm to undertake practices which minimise risk of greater harm.
- Staff support individuals to undertake practices that reduce harm and promote recovery in other areas of physical and mental health and wellbeing.
- The service is designed for flexibility of support with procedures in place for high/low intensity support provision and for cases that are ‘dormant’.
- Support is provided for the individual to transition away from Housing First if this is a positive choice for them.
4. Individualised and person-driven supports
- Staff are responsible for proactively engaging their clients; making the service fit the individual instead of trying to make the individual fit the service.
- Caseloads are small allowing staff to be persistent and proactive in their approach, doing ‘whatever it takes’ and not giving up or closing the case when engagement is low.
- Support is provided for as long as each person requires it.
- The team continues to engage and support the individual if they lose their home or leave their home temporarily.
- Providers commit to long-term offers of support which do not have a fixed end date; recovery takes time and varies by individual needs, characteristics and experiences.
- The support links with relevant services across sectors that help to meet the full range of an individual’s needs.
5. Social and community integration
- Services are underpinned by a philosophy that there is always a possibility for positive change and improved health and wellbeing, relationships and community and/or economic integration.
- Individuals are supported to develop increased self-esteem, self-worth and confidence, and to integrate into their local community.
- Individuals are supported to identify and pursue their strengths and goals.
- Individuals are supported to develop the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals.
- Individuals are supported to build or rebuild their whanau connections and networks of supports.
*Our thanks to Homeless Link UK for allowing us to adapt their resources.