Overview: The Impact of Housing First Policies; Real-Life Implementation

Anne Kuhns and Stephanie Diaz

Our presentation on Housing First offers a comprehensive exploration of homelessness, mental health, and effective solutions. We start with an introduction to Housing First as an approach prioritizing stable housing without preconditions. Personal anecdotes from Stephanie and Anne illustrate the real-world experiences as a source of, and driving our advocacy. The presentation delves into the intertwined nature of homelessness and mental illness, highlighting statistics and vulnerabilities among every person, including youth, veterans, and individuals facing societal stigmas. Rising homelessness rates, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the urgent need for actionable solutions.

Olmstead v. L.C. serves as a legal foundation, emphasizing the rights of individuals with disabilities to integrated services. Core principles of Housing First are delineated, emphasizing immediate access to housing, low barriers to entry, and client autonomy. Integration of mental health and support services, positive outcomes of Housing First, and community engagement strategies offer a roadmap for addressing homelessness and mental health disparities. The presentation concludes with a call to action, urging audience members to foster relationships, engage in politics, and advocate for inclusive, effective solutions to homelessness and mental illness.

  1. Quick Intro to Housing First:
    • Housing First prioritizes providing stable and permanent housing to individuals experiencing homelessness without preconditions.
  2. Personal Journeys:
    • Stephanie's interactions in state mental health institutions.
    • Anne's experiences with individuals in jails.
  3. Intersection of Homelessness and Mental Illness:
    • Statistics highlighting the correlation between homelessness and mental illness.
    • Vulnerabilities of youth and veterans.
    • Impact of homelessness on exacerbating mental health issues.
  4. Rising Homelessness and Need for Solutions:
    • Factors contributing to the increase in chronic homelessness.
    • Exacerbation of homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Dismantling Misconceptions:
    • Addressing myths surrounding homelessness, addiction, and laziness.
    • Introducing the concept of relational poverty.
  6. Understanding Olmstead and Housing First Principles:
    • Summary of Olmstead v. L.C.
    • Core principles of Housing First.
  7. Integration of Mental Health and Support Services:
    • Importance of tying mental health support to long-term housing stability.
    • Substance abuse treatment within the context of permanent supported housing.
    • Access to medical care for individuals in stable housing.
  8. Positive Outcomes of Housing First:
    • Statistics demonstrating improved health outcomes and reduced public service costs.
    • Overcoming concerns about crime and community acceptance.
  9. Lessons Learned and Moving Forward:
    • Examination of failures and areas for improvement.
    • Utilizing Housing First to reach the most vulnerable populations.
  10. Success Stories and Community Engagement:
    • Examples of successful Housing First programs in various communities.
    • Call to action for individual involvement and advocacy.
  11. Conclusion:
    • Showcase videos of individuals sharing their experiences.
    • Empower audience members to form relationships, participate in politics, and drive change at the grassroots level.