What is Housing First?

The Housing First Model

The Housing First approach is based on the concept that a homeless individual's first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues (i.e., disabling conditions, joblessness, poor health, alcohol addiction) that may affect the individual can and should be addressed - through case management and supportive services - once housing is obtained.  In contrast, many other programs operate from a model of "housing readiness" - that is, an individual must address other issues that may have led to the episode of homelessness prior to entering housing.

It is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of Boulder County's homeless population is chronically homeless. One of the goals of The Boulder County 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness is to "provide permanent housing with supportive services to meet the long-term needs of chronically homeless individuals." Housing First is a nation-wide initiative to reduce the number of chronically homeless by providing permanent supportive housing. Housing First programs across the country have shown that this approach is both cost effective and highly successful at keeping people off the streets.

Local & Statewide Homeless Initiatives

Nationwide Homeless Initiatives