Special Issue "Housing First: Ending Homelessness"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Community and Urban Sociology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Paul Flatau

Centre for Social Impact, The University of Western Australia (M098), 35 Stirling Highway, CRAWLEY WA 6009, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social policy; homelessness; poverty; unemployment; labour economics; history of economic thought

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since first being implemented in the US and gaining traction in government programs, as well as community campaigns, the Housing First approach to ending homelessness has been adopted at scale in Canada, in the At Home/Chez Soi project, in Australia, France, Finland, and many other countries. The Housing First approach is based on the principle of a rapid transition to housing with support on entry, regardless of a ‘readiness for housing’. Such an approach is contrasted with a so-called ‘staircase’ approach, in which program participants achieve housing readiness before entry into permanent housing. Earlier versions of the model sought access to ‘ordinary’ scattered site private rental housing but typically under head-leasing arrangements. Various housing and tenancy type programs have since been utilised, including the use of congregate housing and social housing options.

Reflecting in part its origins in programs for those experiencing chronic homelessness with serious medical and mental health conditions, the Housing First approach has been examined in depth in the health and medical sciences. In the present Special Issue of Social Sciences, we seek to examine the Housing First approach through a broad social sciences lens. Original empirical, theoretical, historical and critical policy contributions using a broad range of methodological approaches are sought from across the social science disciplines addressing the following questions and themes:

  • Genus Housing First? Do variations in the way Housing First approaches have been implemented in various countries mean that it is not possible to speak of a single Housing First model but of various models? What makes a program a Housing First program? Do variations in the type of housing provided under a Housing First program matter (e.g., scattered site vs congregate housing, private rental housing vs social housing)? Do levels and type of support on entry to housing matter?
  • Impact evaluation: Do Housing First models achieve improved social and economic outcomes for participants (e.g., in social isolation, employment, quality of life, justice)? What factors influence the extent to which improved social and economic outcomes are achieved and sustained?
  • Economics: What is the overall cost-effectiveness of Housing First models relative to standard models of care?
  • Journeys and stories: What are the lived experiences and journeys of those who are housed through a Housing First program?
  • Policy: Has a focus on Housing First approaches in various countries had unintended consequences for homelessness policy, for example, by focusing too much attention on a single housing-led solution to homelessness in a single context (i.e., chronic rough sleeping homelessness with significant health-related issues). Has too little attention been paid to early intervention and prevention policies because of a Housing First focus?

Prof. Paul Flatau
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • housing first
  • chronic homelessness
  • support
  • housing tenure and housing type
  • social outcomes
  • program evaluation
  • impact evaluation
  • cost-effectiveness outcomes
  • homelessness policy
  • prevention and early intervention programs

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Housing First and Single-Site Housing
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040129
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
In 2002, the United States embraced the Housing First approach, which led to the widespread adoption of this approach in cities across the nation. This resulted in programmatic variations of Housing First and calls for clarity about the Housing First model. This study [...] Read more.
In 2002, the United States embraced the Housing First approach, which led to the widespread adoption of this approach in cities across the nation. This resulted in programmatic variations of Housing First and calls for clarity about the Housing First model. This study uses a comparative case study approach to explore the differences across Housing First programs in five selected cities: Dallas, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. It focuses on one aspect of programmatic variation: housing type. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with 53 participants, documentation review, and site visits. Findings show differences in the type of housing used and explore the reasons why Housing First programs select such housing configurations. The results highlight how programmatic variation does not necessarily mean the Housing First model lacks clarity. Rather, homeless service providers adapt the model to address local challenges and needs, resulting in the variation seen across programs and cities. The findings elucidate the debate about variation in the Housing First model and the call for fidelity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing First: Ending Homelessness)
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