Recognising and Overcoming the Barriers to Housing First in the European Context: Case Studies from England and Ireland

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Increasing evidence from North America and elsewhere shows Housing First models are a highly effective solution to ending chronic homelessness. However, European responses to the idea of Housing First have been mixed. Within the EU, Housing First has sometimes been seen as a panacea for chronic homelessness, but it is also sometimes seen as delivering greater gains in housing sustainment than are achieved in addressing the poor health and social marginalisation of chronically homeless people. There are also concerns that the term ‘Housing First’ is being used as a ‘smokescreen’ to allow governments to replace specialist homelessness services with cheaper mobile support models. Resistance to Housing First also comes from those who regard the solution to chronic homelessness as centred on compliance with treatment, behavioural modification and a ‘willingness to change’. Others see Housing First as offering nothing new or as not representing the cutting edge of service innovation. The Housing First model also has to deal with a host of practical
barriers to implementation, requiring modification to work within an array of EU welfare systems. This paper argues that the innovation and effectiveness of Housing First should not be overlooked and that the limitations inherent in Housing First are significantly outweighed by the advantages it offers. The paper discusses the barriers to effective Housing First implementation in the EU by looking at macro level policy implementation of ‘housing-led’ services at national level in Ireland and the micro level implementation of a single Housing First pilot in London. The paper explores the ways in which the various barriers to Housing First and some limitations within the model can be overcome in the EU context.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 22 Sept 2013
Event'Housing First. What's Second?', FEANTSA Eighth European Research Conference on Homelessness - Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 20 Sept 2013 → …


Conference'Housing First. What's Second?', FEANTSA Eighth European Research Conference on Homelessness
Period20/09/13 → …

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