‘Housing First’: An alternative approach to addressing homelessness?

Homelessness strategies across Europe have traditionally focused on a housing-led approach. This approach prioritises treatment and addiction recovery. Service users transition through stages of temporary accommodation before permanent housing is made available. In contrast, the ‘Housing First’ model gives service users immediate access to permanent accommodation. Because the ‘Housing First’ model views housing as a human right, engagement with treatment services or sobriety isn’t used as a condition of their tenancy. Following on from a blog post yesterday about the many different forms of homelessness in Northern Ireland, this article looks at what the ‘Housing First’ approach is and how it has been implemented across Europe, with specific focus on its use in Northern Ireland.

Edwardian chimneys in Belfast
Image by Albert Bridge, under Creative Commons

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The many faces of homelessness in Northern Ireland

Homelessness is a highly emotive issue and attention on the plight of those who are homeless in Northern Ireland has gained particular momentum over recent months with housing, homelessness and many other organisations working determinedly to raise awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of homelessness here.

Blurred image of multiple faces

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A snapshot of some of the key housing issues for the new mandate: Housing supply and demand

Good quality, affordable housing plays a significant role in maintaining physical, mental and social wellbeing. Additionally, the housing market is an important driver of economic growth and regeneration. Therefore, it may be a concern that housing supply is not keeping up with demand in Northern Ireland.

A snapshot of some of the key housing issues in the new mandate: an image of houses and money
A snapshot of some of the key housing issues in the new mandate: An image of houses and money (Credit: Images Money, under Creative Commons without modification)

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