Housing First Model
Housing First is simple: provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment.
The Housing First Philosophy
Dr. Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in 1992, with the creation of the Housing First model to address homelessness among people with psychiatric disabilities and addiction disorders.
Pathways’ Housing First is simple: provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Housing is provided in apartments scattered throughout a community. This "scattered site" model fosters a sense of home and self-determination, and it helps speed the reintegration of Pathways clients into the community.
Housing First Outcomes
The Pathways model has been remarkably successful in ending chronic homelessness. Since its founding, housing retention rates have remained at 85 – 90 percent even among individuals who have not succeeded in other programs. Not only is Housing First effective at keeping people housed and working toward recovery, it has also proven to be incredibly cost-effective. Providing homes and support services to the chronically homeless costs less than the expensive cycling through of emergency rooms, shelters, jails, and psychiatric hospitals.
Changing the Way We Treat Chronic Homelessness
While Pathways National, based in New York, trains organizations in Housing First, our three partner Pathways organizations in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and Vermont implement the model on the ground. Since its inception, our Housing First model has inspired systems change on an enormous scale. The Veteran Administration contracted with Pathways National, asking for technical support for a system-wide implementation of the Housing First model to house all homeless Veterans. In 2014 the Canadian government was the first country to adopt the model as their national policy to end homelessness. Hundreds of communities across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia have adopted Housing First to end chronic homelessness in their communities.