In January, I wrote a post entitled “Housing the Homeless: Helping or Enabling? Merciful or Money-saving?” about the “housing first” method of housing the homeless. With “housing first,” mentally ill and/or addicted homeless individuals are given housing without being required to take medication or accept substance abuse treatment. The idea is to get them into a stable living situation and then offer them supportive services. However, they may still choose to refuse the services. “Harm reduction” measures are used, such as assistance with budgeting, but clients retain control.
I found a good article about New York’s Pathways to Housing program, a well-known model of the “housing first” method. The article details how “housing first” works. It’s interesting and informative, but frankly, it only increased my concerns about this controversial method of housing the homeless.