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About Housing First

Housing First is a housing and support approach which:

Housing First is a housing and support approach which:

  • Gives people who have experienced homelessness and chronic health and social care needs a stable home from which to rebuild their lives.
  • Provides intensive, person-centred, holistic support that is open-ended.
  • Places no conditions on individuals; however, they should desire to have a tenancy.

The Housing First approach was first developed in New York by Pathways to Housing in 1992. It has since been widely adopted in the USA and become central to the national homelessness strategies in Canada, Denmark, Finland and France, demonstrating widespread success.

In England, since 2010, a growing number of local areas have established Housing First services to meet and identified need.

The Principles for Housing First in England

The Principles for England, published by Homeless Link in November 2016, are based on the evidence initially gathered by Pathways to Housing in the USA, and are aligned with the core principles in the FEANTSA Housing First Guide Europe.

Read more about the Housing First principles
Portrait - Person in Dungarees

Housing First resources

We have produced and compiled specific guidance for housing providers, commissioners and service providers.

Housing First for housing providers

Up-to-date, practical guidance and resources to support housing providers to provide properties for Housing First services.

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Housing First for commissioners

The latest guidance and practical resources to support the commissioning of successful Housing First services. You may also be interested in our research reports.

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Housing First for service providers

A comprehensive set of practical guidance and resources to support the delivery of successful Housing First services.

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Engaging other sectors

Resources to support those involved in Housing First to engage the criminal justice, health, mental health, social care and substance use sectors.

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Housing First resident stories

The real impact of Housing First can be discovered in the stories of the people benefitting from these services. It is important that professionals from across the homelessness and related sectors hear - in residents' own words - how the approach has made a difference to their lives, and successfully supported them to move away from homelessness.

Tim's story

Tim was street homeless for 20 years, punctuated by stays in two different hostels, before becoming a client of SHP's Islington Housing First service in 2020. His flat has changed his life and he now feels he has hope for the future.

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Tristan's story

This is the story of Tristan, one of Golden Key's Housing First clients. He tells us about his life and how he got trapped in a vicious cycle of homelessness and addiction until he was offered a home and turned his life around.

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Katherine's story

After joining Emerging Futures, Katherine said she started to think optimistically about the future and to feel part of the wider community, giving her a chance to form and sustain friendships.

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The story of Housing First in Greater Manchester

Since 2018, Greater Manchester has been one of three areas running government funded Housing First pilots. This video shows the amazing progress of the service and the impact it has had on some of the people involved. 

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Patrick's story

The people involved in Camden Housing First explain what makes the service successful, and what it means to them.

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Luke's story

Luke* joined Emerging Futures in July 2016, and proved to be a model Housing First tenant. His had an easy going and pleasant manner and has embraced our culture, making massive changes and directing his life towards independent living.

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What is Housing First for Youth?

Adapted from the Housing First approach, Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is a rights-based intervention for young people who are experiencing homelessness, or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

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Group Meeting

Talk To Us About Housing First


Alex Smith

Senior National Practice Development Project Manager (Housing First Lead)

Alex is a Senior National Practice Development Project Manager leading Housing First England.