Housing First needs ‘more political support’ to reduce homelessness

Europe wide survey calls for integration Housing First into local, regional, and national strategies.

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On World Homeless Day, the Housing First Europe Hub makes a plea for more political support to increase the model’s impact.

The Hub has released a study compiling data from 19 countries with evidence from the study shows that Housing First is effective, but needs that boost in political backing.

Housing First in Europe shows that while Housing First is a proven response to homelessness with good outcomes for people using the service, the spread of the approach is uneven across European countries.

As such, political support for Housing First, including for its integration into local, regional, and national strategies is key to obtaining funding and resources.

Of the 19 countries surveyed:

  • Only eight countries reported strong political support
  • Only three countries reported that existing funding is reliable
  • Just two countries reported having sufficient funding
  • 15 out of 16 countries where Housing First is already operational reported that there was not enough housing available
  • Eight of these same 15 countries indicated that it was always difficult to find housing

In Europe, Finland is seen the best example of how systematic change can drastically reduce homelessness.

it is the only country to report Housing First as the main strategic response to homelessness at national level, and the only country in Europe that has a track record of reducing homelessness.

The report reveals the stark gap between Finland and the 18 other countries studied.

“It’s clear from this report that the Housing First model can help to reduce homelessness – Finland’s experience is a good example of this,” said Samara Jones, Programme Coordinator for the Housing First Europe Hub.

“But sufficient, reliable funding and political support are crucial for services to be successfully implemented in the long-term,” said Samara Jones, Programme Coordinator for the Housing First Europe Hub.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive at Crisis, said: “Everyone should have a safe and stable home. Finland is a great example proving that reducing homelessness is a reality, not just a pipe dream.

“We know how to end homelessness but we need the political will and commitment to invest in long term solutions such as building more affordable housing.”

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