Ending Homelessness Through Housing First

By Adam Gibbs, May 21, 2015 - 3:08pm

We know housing first is a highly effective approach to ending homelessness, but how exactly does it work? Linda Kaufman, Zero: 2016 National Movement Manager, breaks it down and explains how implementing housing first can make a huge impact in your community.

Okay, you are doing the fundamentals of ending homelessness in your community: using mainstream services, only doing what works, you know all of your neighbors experiencing homelessness by name, and you’ve collected all of this by-name data in the form of an organized and prioritized list. Now its time to bite the bullet and decide that the whole community is going to do housing first. HUD wants it, the VA is insisting, and you've seen the evidence...it works. Its time to take the plunge.

Housing first is a no-barriers approach to connect people with the highest need to the next available housing resources - without any preconditions.  The practice emphasizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing right away, then offering other services as needed. If they are drinking or drugging, they get the next available housing resource. If they are experiencing mental health issues and not admitting it or taking meds, they get the next available resource. You get the drift. Supportive services are still part of the equation, but they aren’t a prerequisite. Housing is the beginning of stability, not a reward for it. 

Special thanks to our partners at Skid Row Housing Trust, who housed Ed and helped him succeed in permanent supportive housing. 

There have been so many studies on this stuff. When you do it well, housing first helps at least 85% of people stay stably housed. And if you're concerned about doing it well, CALL ME. I want to help you take this step.

If you are in the business of ending homelessness, housing first is the biggest tool that will get you there. By moving the people with highest need into housing, your community will soon see the needle moving toward ending homelessness. So, let’s do this. If you are interested in housing first, and ready to make the shift, call me. If you think this is the right thing to do and your community is not with you, call me. If you don’t quite yet believe the awesomeness of housing first, call me. Let’s make this happen.

If you are committed to ending homelessness, starting with veterans, and you are not yet using housing first community-wide, now is the time.


Linda Kaufman

National Movement Manager, Community Solutions

[email protected]


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