About Housing First

About Housing First

Housing First England video

Housing First England (subtitled)


70-90% of people sustain their accommodation with Housing First in England - Pleace and Bretherton, 2015

What is Housing First?

Housing First is an internationally evidence-based approach, which uses independent, stable housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.   

Through the provision of intensive, flexible and person-centred support, 70-90% of Housing First residents are able to remain housed. Having a place to call home also leads to improvements in health and wellbeing, and reduces ineffective contact with costly public services.

Unlike other supported housing models, individuals do not need to prove they are ready for independent housing, or progress through a series of accommodation and treatment services. There are no conditions placed on them, other than a willingness to maintain a tenancy agreement, and Housing First is designed to provide long-term, open-ended support for their on-going needs.

The Housing First approach was first developed in New York by the Pathways to Housing organisation 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.

The approach is currently growing in popularity in the UK, and in 2016, we developed and published the Principles for Housing First in England to inform the commissioning, design and delivery of services in this country.


74% of people at five Housing First services in England had been housed for a year or more in 2015 - Pleace and Bretherton, 2015

  • Housing First England's policy paper


    Homeless Link is calling on local and national policy makers to work with us to ensure the necessary support funding, access to housing, and co-ordinated service responses are in place to make Housing First a successful intervention.


    Making Housing First Effective.pdf | 220K

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