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Model and priniples

Housing First is an evidence-based approach, which uses housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.  

Housing First is a housing and support approach which:

  • Gives people who have experienced homelessness and chronic health and social care needs a stable home from which to rebuild their lives.

  • Provides intensive, person-centred, holistic support that is open-ended.

  • Places no conditions on individuals; however, they should desire to have a tenancy.

The Housing First approach was first developed in New York by Pathways to Housing in 1992.


It has since been widely adopted in the USA and become central to the national homelessness strategies in Canada, Denmark, Finland and France, demonstrating widespread success. Click here for the Housing First Europe website.


In England, since 2010, a growing number of local areas have established Housing First services to meet and identified need.

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The approach is based around seven key principles:

  1. People have a right to a home

  2. Flexible support is provided for as long as it is needed

  3. Housing and support are separated

  4. Individuals have choice and control

  5. An active engagement approach is used

  6. The service is based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations

  7. A harm reduction approach is used.


Unlike other supported housing models, individuals do not need to prove they are ready for independent housing, or progress through a series of accommodation and treatment services.

There are no conditions placed on them, other than a willingness to maintain a tenancy agreement, and Housing First is designed to provide long-term, open-ended support for their on-going needs.  Housing First uses a person-centred and trauma informed approach to put the person goals and aspiration as the core of the support.

For more information about Housing First, visit the Housing First website HERE

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