Homeless Policy

The population of the world has been significantly growing in recent years. Even though there is more land available, the population is growing. Due to this trend, a lot of land has been subdivided in order to meet the rising demand. However, not everyone has the financial means to purchase a plot of land, leaving them without a house. These folks frequently squat, and some rely on pricey housing rentals (Robertson & Greenblatt, 1992). The majority of states are struggling to control the situation due to the rising number of homeless people. The majority of the impacted governments have moved to implement laws to support these houseless people. Some of the policies have failed while others showed a positive response. In this essay, I identified one policy which helped to eliminate the problem of homelessness in Utah, United States, by almost ninety percent (Tsemberis, 2010). The policy used to control homelessness was known as Housing First. This approach’s primary goal was to give the homeless people a permanent solution to their problem. The provision of permanent homes boosted the personal lives of the homeless (Robertson & Greenblatt, 1992). It was guided by the principle of basic needs, the belief that people should have access to food and a place to live. Another significant aspect of Housing First policy is that it gave the homeless people freedom of choice, since choice enables an individual to improve his or her own life successfully.

The social programs developed in line with housing first approach include Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and rapid re-housing. The priority of the programs was to give the homelessness access to homes without conditions (Watson & Austerberry, 1986). It focuses on providing an individual with the foundation of life. Additionally, the program offers support services to the persons affected till they attain stability. This approach stands out form other solutions since it does not have requirements to house someone. The nature of housing first is flexible. It does not matter whether it is an individual or a family. Housing first assists anyone who needs housing without any discrimination.

This approach is considered the best since it offers housing to the homelessness without any barriers or preconditions. It aims at making the homeless attain stability in their lives by providing long-term supportive services. It is utilized by any housing program or organization to solve the problem of homelessness (Watson & Austerberry, 1986). Through collaborative efforts of the state and funders, the program has proven it beyond measure. Anyone is eligible to access the program since it caters for any kind of homelessness. It also offers rental assistance to persons in need until the time they are stable to survive on their own. However, this rental assistance must be under the standard lease for a person to qualify.

The housing first program is based on the principles of social allocation. It follows the principle of compensation. The homeless people are given homes as a result of their suffering. The state believes it is their right to have homes by compensating them with this approach. (Tsemberis, 2010). It diagnoses the problem and solves it accordingly. The program is selective in its operation. It majorly focuses on those in need and not everyone in the society. The homeless individuals are the ones to benefit from this approach. It requires the individuals to meet a specific condition, homelessness, for them to be part of the program.

Benefits of the Approach

The benefits of this policy are numerous. Firstly, it offers the base for an individual to start a new life. Moreover, the program comes with support services such as mental and physical aids for those who go through drug addiction. Also, it facilitates education and employment for the affected individuals. It has various categories of service delivery; they include systems approach, philosophical approach, team interventions and program models. All these types of service delivery have the support of the state. There are housing first teams which meet a specific target of the population depending on the social challenges they are facing. These teams include the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and Intensive Case Management (ICM) for health support.

Housing First approach is backed up by finances for it to operate efficiently. Some of their finances come from Medicaid which funds the rehabilitative services. It was one of the first Housing First programs. Moreover, Housing First gets finances from the state government and other private parastatals. Its activities are also subsidized by the federal state, for instance, rental housing. The housing first program has escalated to become the best solution to homelessness. However, it is surrounded by different preferences (Robertson & Greenblatt, 1992). Some people suggest that it should be universal instead of selective and cater for all the citizens in the society to evade homelessness in future. Despite such preferences, most Housing First programs have focused on the homeless individuals always.

This excellent program involves the efforts of all stakeholders participating in making the policy a success. The housing and service providers believe this program has an impact (Corbitt, 1993). With the number of homeless people decreasing, they hold onto the opinion that Housing First is on the right track. The funders of the program, such as the state government, have put stringent measures to allow implementation of the program. They have funded the program relentlessly, and they are hopeful to reduce the number of homeless people to zero. All these stakeholders join hands when eradicating homelessness, they put their resources on one table and distribute them equally to the homeless individuals. The government plays the role of endorsing the policy fully to the public. This way it attracts major players in the housing industry to participate in this process. Furthermore, the funders facilitate the screening process and provide finances to sustain the program. The funders have a voice in the process by ensuring it is credible and transparent.


The challenges in the Housing First program occur during the implementation process. First, coordinating the different stakeholders to work together is a difficult task. For instance, housing first calls for the integration of both the clinical and housing services (O’Sullivan, 2012). Sometimes these teams have different goals hence they find themselves isolating from each other. The best resolution to evade this challenge is to encourage the different teams to embrace their differences and work towards a common goal (Loftus-Farren, 2011). Additionally, the teams can foster communication between each other to ensure that the aims of both teams can be met efficiently. On the contrary, the teams can develop clear and distinct roles and work together towards solving the problem.

Furthermore, another crucial challenge facing this policy is how to work with the homeless individuals to adjust to their new homes. This critical issue can make the homeless person uncomfortable and unable to fit in the system (Hoath, 1983). To evade this kind of problem, support should be given to the participants from the beginning through basic skills training (O’Sullivan, 2012). The skills learned should include how to maintain and clean a home. Moreover, the homeless should learn the practice of reflection. In case of eviction, the victims should know how to reflect and know what exactly went wrong. They should also learn strategies on how to evade the problem and reflect on the consequences.

Another challenge that the program faces is the landlords. Some of the landlords will find it hard to fulfill their responsibilities as provided by the provisional law (O’Sullivan, 2012). The solution to this problem is to educate the landlords on their different roles. Also, they should enlighten them on their tenant’s legal rights and show them the importance of solving a problem collaboratively (Corbitt, 1993). Also, the workers in the program would have difficulties in reaching the participants, especially in the rural and urban setting. The participants would also feel bored living in isolation. The resolution to this problem is to encourage positive relationships among participants.

In the course of the program, some of the workers can be engraved in their services till they trigger emotions. These emotions are as a result of working closely with the affected individuals. This challenge makes some workers experience trauma. Furthermore, during the implementation of the program, it is common for someone to die (Loftus-Farren, 2011). Therefore, it increases the chances of traumatization. To curb this situation, the workers in the program should learn the importance of self-care. This way they will be able to notice when their colleague is undergoing emotional trauma. Moreover, holding meetings to solve particular problems will enable release of the burden to one individual.

Lastly, another significant hurdle faced during implementation of this policy is the difficulty of the participants in reorienting their own goals. Some of the homeless people will prioritize employment while others will find it hard to maintain stable housing (Atherton & Nicholls, 2008). This challenge can be resolved by taking the participants as they are first. For instance, if one homeless person is thinking about getting basic needs, the worker involved should give him or her solution before telling the individual to commit to a long-term goal (Watson & Austerberry, 1986). The Housing First for it to be effective it should partner with other stakeholders in the society to provide job opportunities and education.

As we can see, the benefits of Housing First are extensive. It has numerous merits over its demerits especially to the homeless person involved. The fact that it comes with support services such as health assistance makes it more appealing. Furthermore, House First has enabled individuals to realize that they have a right to housing. This right to housing should not be susceptible to conditions and interventions. The most important benefit of this approach is that it has led to the awareness of homelessness and has led to funds been channeled to the program.


If we want to eliminate the problem of homelessness in the times to come, then House First program has to quick but effective(Hoath, 1983). The government should increase the budget for the program. Increase in funding will enable the program to acquire enough manpower to fast-track the process. Implementation of the policy would be more straightforward since everything is taken care of by the finances. The time used to seek funds will be saved into promoting the policy (Loftus-Farren, 2011). Furthermore, the policy needs to be universal to cover both the homeless and the individuals who are housed temporarily. It should also focus on people with low income in the society and provide affordable housing.

Another recommendation that can make this Housing First policy successful is to focus on a particular area time. This way, the program will be more objective hence solving the challenges at a faster rate. Moreover, the policy should seek support from various institutions to promote in the community (Loftus-Farren, 2011). These institutions can be churches, schools and health centers. Involvement of these institutions will foster service provision such as medical care/. Also, the program needs to give the homeless people a choice and some amount of control in their housing endeavors (Atherton & Nicholls, 2008). The freedom of choice should enable a tenant to move from one house to another if the tenancy is compromised.

To sum up, solving homelessness can assist in fixing up a lot of other issues. These issues include unemployment, truancy in school, drug and alcohol abuse, and food insecurity (Hoath, 1983). Hence if more resources are fueled in the implementation of this policy, it will save the society from a lot of other problems. This policy is cost-effective since housed people are most unlikely to use the emergency shelter, jail and hospitals. If well implemented, it will enhance the social wellbeing of people today and for many years to come.


Atherton, I., & Nicholls, C. M. (2008). 'Housing First'as a means of addressing multiple needs and homelessness. European Journal of Homelessness, 2, 289-303.

Corbitt, B. (1993). Education as a solution to homelessness. Youth Studies Australia, 12(2), 38-44.

Hoath, D. C. (1983). Homelessness. Taylor & Francis.

Loftus-Farren, Z. (2011). Tent cities: An interim solution to homelessness and affordable housing shortages in the United States. California Law Review, 1037-1081.

O’Sullivan, E. (2012). Ending Homelessness–A Housing-led Approach. Dublin: Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

Robertson, M. J., & Greenblatt, M. (1992). Homelessness. In Homelessness (pp. 339-349). Springer US.

Tsemberis, S. (2010). Housing first: The pathways model to end homelessness for people with mental illness and addiction manual. Hazelden.

Watson, S., & Austerberry, H. (1986). Housing and homelessness: A feminist perspective. Routledge.

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