Housing First

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help facilitate investments in housing and support healthy living environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Provide condition-free, rapid access to permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Additional services include crisis intervention, needs assessments, and case management
  • Participants may be in central location with on-site support or in scattered units throughout a community.
  • There are no time limits to program participation
Cost per Participant
Estimated $6,314 per participant per year

Evidence and impacts

Proven

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  • Reduced homelessness, increase housing stability, and reduce hospital utilization
  • Demonstrated improvements in housing stability for individuals suffering from mental health problems, homeless youth, veterans, chronically homeless individuals, and survivors of domestic violence
  • May improve outcomes related to mental health, substance abuse, quality of life, and personal safety

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Partnerships between mental health, substance abuse, and social service providers with landlords and property owners are essential for success.
  • Participants should be provided with flexible financial assistance which allows them to meet their individual needs.
  • Community engagement can develop rapport between participants and neighbors, enabling sustained community support.
  • Management, leadership, and direct service staff should meet regularly to assess results and areas for improvement.
  • Incorporate anti-racism and anti-oppression principles to better serve the needs of participants from diverse backgrounds.