The Applicability of Housing First Models to Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness.

Carol L. Pearson, Gretchen Locke,  Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, and Larry Buron

July 2008

In recent years, increased public attention has been focused on the hardest-to-serve, chronically homeless population, a substantial number of whom are mentally ill. Because the Housing First approach addresses this population, it has emerged as a favored policy response among many in the advocacy and practitioner communities. This report provides a basic description of several programs that represent a Housing First model.  Previous evaluations of the Housing First approach concentrated on Pathways to Housing - the first and most well known Housing First program.  This exploratory study identifies the existing permutations of the Housing First approach, which appear to respond effectively to the needs of homeless people with serious mental illness. It examines and compares three programs that are implementing the Housing First approach in slightly different ways and describes the characteristics of programs that seem to be influential in housing tenure, stability, and other positive outcomes for clients.

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