'Doing it already'?: stakeholder perceptions of Housing First in the UK

Sarah Johnsen, Ligia Teixeira

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Abstract

When first developed in the United States, ‘Housing First’ was highly controversial given its departure from mainstream ‘linear’ service models for homeless people with complex support needs. It has nevertheless since been heralded as presenting a key ‘antidote’ to chronic homelessness and is being replicated across North America and Europe with what might be regarded as ‘evangelical’ fervour. Reception to Housing First has been noticeably more reserved in the UK to date. This paper explores the reasons underpinning many UK stakeholders’ scepticism about the model. It argues that this derives, in part, from the fact that Housing First implementation in the UK would not represent the scale of paradigm shift that it has elsewhere, thus the model is considered far less revolutionary. Furthermore, whilst most stakeholders find aspects of the approach very attractive, ideological and pragmatic reservations dictate that robust evidence derived from pilot projects in Britain will be required – especially as regards outcomes for individuals with active substance misuse problems – before any wholesale ‘conversion’ to Housing First is likely in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-203
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Volume12
Issue number2
Early online date28 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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Keywords

  • Homelessness
  • complex support needs
  • housing first
  • housing models
  • policy transfer
  • UK

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