Housing First



Housing First is a homeless assistance program that attempts to provide people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing as quickly as possible – and then provides voluntary supportive services as needed. Although the model is not explicitly tied to health, it is increasingly being viewed as a means of addressing the socioeconomic barriers that homeless patients face, particularly those with mental health issues. This approach prioritizes client choice in both housing selection and in service participation. Housing First programs share critical elements: a focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing as quickly as possible; a variety of services delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed and entirely voluntary basis; and a standard lease agreement to housing – as opposed to mandated therapy or services compliance. The Camden Coalition has adopted a Housing First model to supplement its hot-spotting and care coordination initiatives.

Partner Organizations

Participants include:
  • Community Housing Network in Columbus, OH
  • Direct Access to Housing in San Francisco, CA
  • Downtown Emergency Service Center in Seattle, WA
  • Horizon House in Philadelphia, PA
  • Lamp Community in Los Angeles, CA
  • Pathways Housing in New York, NY
  • Reaching Out and Engaging to Achieve Consumer Health (REACH) in San Diego, CA
  • Sunshine Terrace in Columbus, OH
  • The Village in Long Beach, CA
  • PLACES in Dayton, OH

Target Population

Individuals with permanent supportive housing needs 

Care Team



Varies by program

Results/ Studies



Varies by program


Program description by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

Program description by the National Alliance to End Homelessness

The Applicability of Housing First Models to Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness (2007)