Housing First

Housing First is a proven solution to homelessness for people who have been rough sleeping, and long-term users of emergency hostels and shelters, with high needs around mental health and addiction. It provides homeless individuals with a stable, secure home of their own as quickly as possible in order to effectively target them with personalised housing and health supports. These wrap-around services, which are provided for as long as needed, help people stay housed and support them in their recovery.

Housing First has proven to be a very successful measure directed at individuals who have been sleeping rough and using emergency homeless accommodation on a long-term basis, with complex needs that have prevented them from exiting homelessness. As well as ending homelessness for individuals who have been sleeping on the streets for many years, Housing First can contribute to an overall reduction in the numbers of people rough sleeping.

It is clear that individuals with high support needs can become entrenched in rough sleeping and face many barriers to successfully exiting emergency homeless accommodation. International studies have shown that those who are chronically homeless tend to use emergency accommodation at proportions far in excess of their percentage of the homeless population. By committing to providing housing with intensive supports to vulnerable individuals who experience homelessness, the long term use of emergency accommodation by these individuals and consequently the overall need for such facilities in the first place should be reduced.

Experience from other countries shows that Housing First works best as part of an overall integrated strategy to address homelessness. While the provision of additional emergency accommodation will remain important in the short to medium term, the national rollout of Housing First will contribute to limiting the demand for further emergency beds and, in some parts of the country, it will help to avert the need for them at all. By expanding Housing First to every region, it will bring the lasting benefits currently experienced principally in the Dublin region to every city and town where it is needed
(Dublin Region Homeless Executive 2018)