What Is Housing First?
Housing First is an innovative movement to improve the way housing for the homeless works. Conventional housing options typically require that the homeless person or family resolve a number of issues before they qualify for housing. These can include treatment for addiction or mental illness, obtaining identification, beginning a job search, etc. The problem with approach is that it can be virtually impossible to complete these requirements without permanent shelter. As a result, many of the homeless cannot begin the process of finding housing.
Housing First reverses this approach and offers basic housing without conditions, before requiring a program of self-improvement. It comes from the experience that with safe, permanent shelter you have a home base to begin to put a life back together. You have an address, a phone number, a safe place for your things and, perhaps most important, the very difficult daily task of finding shelter no longer takes up the majority of your time and energy.
Person Centered Housing Options (PCHO) is a not-for-profit organization formed by housing professionals to bring the concepts of Housing First to the Greater Rochester, NY region.
People once had to change their lives to become housed,” Walker said. “Now we give them housing first so they can make changes if they want to.
The state of Utah has used a Housing First approach to eliminate chronic homelessness, going from over 1700 chronically homeless to less than 180 statewide. Housing people is much more cost effective than providing services to those out in the streets. Read about their success here.
Links To Housing First Initiatives in Other Areas:
1136 Buffalo Road
Rochester NY 14624
©2017 PCHO, Inc.
All photos ©2015 Lucia Falsetto Guarino