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Housing First is an approach that is centered on the belief that everyone can achieve stability in permanent housing directly from homelessness and that stable housing is a foundation for achieving other goals. Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing are tools that work together to reduce homelessness and help people with disabilities live independently in the community.
There are several key elements in the Housing First approach:
- Choice of Housing: To the greatest extent possible, people should be able to choose the type of housing they prefer.
- Separation of Housing and Services: Property management and case management are separate and distinct.
- Decent, Safe, and Affordable Housing: Tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.
- Rights of Tenancy: Tenants must have a lease that is in compliance with landlord/tenant law.
- Access to Housing: Access to programs is not contingent on sobriety, minimum income requirements, lack of a criminal record, completion of treatment, participation in services, or other unnecessary conditions.
- Flexible, Voluntary Services: Supportive services emphasize engagement and problem-solving over therapeutic goals. Participation in services or compliance with service plans are not conditions of tenancy, but are reviewed with tenants and regularly offered as a resource to tenants.
- Eviction is a last resort: Every effort is made to provide a tenant the opportunity to transfer from one housing situation, program, or project to another if a tenancy is in jeopardy. Whenever possible, eviction back into homelessness is avoided.