The Housing First Model
It all started with...
Dr. Sam Tsemberis who founded Pathways to Housing in New York City in 1992 based on the belief that housing is a human right. At Pathways, Tsemberis developed the consumer-driven evidence-based Housing First model that provides immediate access to permanent supportive housing to individuals who are homeless and who have mental health and addiction problems.
As Community Solutions states in their manifesto on Housing First, "The only lasting solution to homelessness is permanent housing. Far too often, however, we attempt to treat the symptoms of homelessness instead of its root cause."
The manifesto goes on to point out that, "Housing First is a simple philosophy that dictates that the most vulnerable and chronic people experiencing homelessness be offered the choice to move into permanent housing combined with available supportive services ("permanent supportive housing") right away. It discourages imposing conditions on permanent housing, whether related to health, employment or sobriety. This approach has a documented track record of ending people’s homelessness while often encouraging them to make their own choices to get healthy, quit drugs and alcohol, and find employment when possible."