"While San Diegans might be confused by the different programs, philosophies and proposed solutions to ending homelessness, here's one thing to know: The Housing First approach works - and we're in danger of losing it if ill-informed politicians and agencies get their way.
Housing First is proven. National and San Diego County regional data back this up time and time again, as do Housing First success stories in Houston, Salt Lake City, Orlando and many regions across the country.
This is how and why it works: Housing First offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides customized wraparound supportive services to meet their needs. When those experiencing homelessness don't have to face the fear of getting kicked out of a program or pressure of an arbitrary deadline to meet a provider's expectations, they are, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more likely to discontinue substance abuse, participate in job training, attend school and spend fewer days hospitalized than those not participating in Housing First programs.
What's more, programs that follow the Housing First model are the most flexible -- a key component in ensuring success when dealing with multiple people with varying needs and circumstances. Services are provided by focusing on spending money on what the individual or family needs as opposed to checking boxes for services rendered that may not be effective but chip away at grant money.
All of the cities mentioned above -- and others -- point to outcomes that support the success of the Housing First model: People remain stably housed, reduce their use of crisis services and institutions, and improve their overall health and social welfare."
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