Values also play a critical role in the selection of a framework for addressing homelessness. The traditional approach, which is still observed in many homeless efforts, is referred to as the Continuum of Care model in which homeless individuals and families receive graduated services that lead to eventual self-sufficiency. This approach, which was mandated by HUD in the 1990s, seeks to move individuals and families from shelter to transitional housing to eventual permanent housing, and often places requirements (e.g., sobriety) on one’s ability to transition from one placement to the next.
The Continuum of Care approach has been replaced in recent years by the Housing First model, which serves as the framework for this plan. The Housing First Model places a value on the immediate provision of permanent housing and supportive services, rather than a shelter or transitional housing placement. It assumes that housing stabilization is key to the return of the individual or family to independent living and that needed supportive services can effectively be provided to the client either on site or at agency offices. The general theory behind the Housing First model is that the root cause of homelessness is economically based. Further, programs based on the Housing First model believe that individuals and families facing homelessness are more engaged and responsive to needed support services once they are safely living in permanent housing. Long-term stability and self-sufficiency are seen as attainable goals only after the immediate housing need is addressed.
Davidson, N. (2006). “Housing First” for the chronically homeless: Challenges of a new service model. Journal of Affordable Housing 15(2), 125-136.
Values Underlying the Plan
Why Housing First?