Although Housing First has gained national attention, there is no official
definition describing its principles, though many organizations define
what Housing First means to them. In general, the Housing First philosophy
is applied differently depending on the environment in which the program
operates and the population served. This is especially true for Housing
First programs designed for families. HFF believes that any Housing First
program for families should embrace the following principles:
- Housing is a human right, and homeless and at-risk families should
be housed as quickly as possible. This would make the shelter system
a truly temporary response.
- An effective assessment process should be in place – ensuring
families have access to affordable, safe housing, appropriate supports,
resources and opportunities.
- Families should be moved directly into housing without first having
to prove they are “housing ready” by completing a series
of service requisites.
- Once housed, support services should not be mandated in order to maintain
housing and should be research based to increase the families’
likelihood of maintaining and achieving housing stability.
- Families, in collaboration with a service and/or shelter provider,
should construct and implement a plan leading to economic stability.
This plan should evolve over time, be driven by the families’
goals and be reformulated if certain elements are not achieved; however
families should not lose housing if the plan is not fulfilled but efforts
should be made to rework it.
- Families have leases in their name and tenancy protection under the
For more information about the Housing First philosophy, see National
Perspectives on Housing First.
Find Housing First Resources
See Housing First in the News
Find information about The
New Approaches to Family Homelessness Forum Series: