If you’ve traveled around the States, you know that homelessness is conspicuous in the richest nation of the World.
That’s always surprised me.
But Utah’s turned that around in a surprising way.
The state is giving homeless people homes. It’s a solution that might sound too simple, but it’s working. The program, called “Housing First”, has origins in New York. Utah started its own pilot of the program in 2005 with 17 people. The state took them off the street and put them into housing for twenty-two months. After the state saw that all 17 people remained housed and stable during that time, the project was expanded. …
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Housing First, which is distinct and separate from “rapid re-housing”, is a relatively recent innovation in human service programs and social policy regarding treatment of the homeless and is an alternative to a system of emergency shelter/transitional housing progressions.
Rather than moving homeless individuals through different “levels” of housing, known as the Continuum of Care, whereby each level moves them closer to “independent housing” (for example: from the streets to a public shelter, and from a public shelter to a transitional housing program, and from there to their own apartment in the community) Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own apartments.
Housing First approaches are based on the concept that a homeless individual or household’s first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. …