Housing First Implementation Resources

As communities are implementing the Housing First Approach in their homeless crisis response systems, they sometimes struggle with taking the approach from a set of guiding principles to policy and procedures in their projects. This set of resources can assist communities and agencies in implementing Housing First in their projects. Regardless of project type, the Housing First approach can be utilized to reduce barriers to access for project participants and to maintain project participation.

Disclaimer: Documents in this toolkit are not official HUD resources and may not be in alignment with HUD guidance. Please review and use at your own risk.

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Housing First Implementation

Housing First Model

From the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s (CSH) Supportive Housing Quality Toolkit, this resource provides a brief overview of the philosophy of Housing First as well as how to streamline access into housing.

Date Published: 2018

Housing First Checklist

This checklist was designed to help assist communities in making a quick assessment of whether and to what degree housing projects – and entire systems – are employing a Housing First approach.

Date Published: September 2016

Housing First Overview

The National Alliance to End Homelessness’s (NAEH) one pager on the Housing First approach outlines the foundational framework of Housing First, as well as the guiding principles behind the approach and studies that have shown Housing First’s effectiveness.

Date Published: April 2016

Canadian Housing First Toolkit

This resource provides communities guidance and steps to take to message, implement, evaluate, and sustain a Housing First model within their projects. This toolkit has a mental health focus and was created specifically for Canadian communities, but is incredibly helpful for U.S. communities as well.

Date Published: 2014

Organizational Change: Adopting a Housing First Approach

This toolkit provides a resource for communities that are planning on shifting their projects to Housing First models. It outlines questions to consider before adopting a Housing First approach, the different phases and steps that are required in the process, a sample logic model, and other tips.

Date Published: August 2009

Working with Project Participants in a Housing First Approach

Engaging Tenants

From the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s (CSH) Supportive Housing Quality Toolkit, this resource looks at how to ensure tenants are provided proper voluntary services in a respectful, non-judgmental manner the supports a client-centered approach.

Date Published: 2018

Delivering Services

From CSH’s Supportive Housing Quality Toolkit, this page gives a brief overview of concepts such as m otivational i nterviewing, trauma- informed care, stages of change, and h arm r eduction.

Date Published: 2018

Tenant Manual and Welcome Packet

This sample tenant manual was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy in collaboration with CSH . It is specifically designed as a resource for supportive housing providers working with families, especially those families involved with the child welfare system. While not explicitly Housing First focused, the manual implicitly takes on a Housing First lens. It may be most useful to projects serving families at a single site such as an apartment building or a cluster of apartment units managed by the same housing provider.

Date Published: May 2016

A Practice Framework for Delivering Services to Families in Supportive Housing

This document provides a framework for practice in family supportive housing settings. It is intended to be a capacity-building tool for those who are designing or already providing case management services for families living in supportive housing.

Date Published: March 2016

Housing First in Specific Project Types

*It is important to note that although these resources are geared toward specific project types, the lessons and tools provided in these resources can be applied to any project type.

THIS is Housing First for Youth: A Program Model Guide

This guide provides the framework for developing a “rights-based intervention for young people (aged 13-24) who experience homelessness, or are at risk.” Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is designed to supplement traditional Housing First models to support the specific needs of and challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness.

Date Published: 2017

Low-Barrier Shelter

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) kicked-off The Emergency Shelter Webinar Series, a six-month installment of webinars and complementary resources and tools dedicated to guiding and supporting communities interested in improving the way they serve those experiencing homelessness and in need of shelter. This multi-faceted campaign is for anyone looking to improve shelter outcomes in their community.

Date Published: April 2017

Rapid Rehousing Toolkit

Providers can use this toolkit to design a new rapid re-housing program or to improve their current rapid re-housing practice and includes a Housing First lens. The toolkit provides clear guidelines on the goals, project policies, and staff activities of an effective program and can be used to onboard new staff and improve the practice of current staff of any rapid re-housing project.

Date Published: October 2016

Options, not Opponents: Housing First and Recovery Housing

This resource page outlines the nine hallmarks of recovery-focused housing environments and provides an example from Ohio.

Date Published: August 2016

Implementing Housing First in Permanent Supportive Housing

This fact sheet outlines how Permanent Supportive Housing projects can and have adopted a Housing First a pproach to housing formerly homeless clients. The fact sheet touches upon components of Housing First such as choice of housing, separation of housing and services, integration, rights of t enancy, and a ccess to h ousing.

Date Published: June 2014

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-Informed Approach and Trauma-Specific Interventions

This resource page outlines the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) six key principles of a trauma-informed approach and trauma-specific interventions that address trauma’s consequences and facilitate healing.

Date Published: August 2015

SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

This manual introduces the concept of trauma and offers a framework for becoming a trauma-informed organization, system, or service sector. The manual provides a definition of trauma and a trauma-informed approach, and offers 6 key principles and 10 implementation domains.

Date Published: October 2014