In traditional shelter models, people become homeless, go to shelter, and “if they do what they are told,” they will stabilize their lives enough that they will earn their way into housing. Since 2008, there has been a nationwide effort to implement a new way of helping people experiencing homelessness–called housing first. This strategy removes the barriers from both shelter and permanent housing and believes that every person should have equal opportunity to obtain and maintain a permanent residence.
The housing first model is a proven way of stabilizing homeless households and reducing costs on public systems, such as jails, hospitals, police departments and emergency personnel. Participants in such programs are usually more willing than those in traditional models to take steps necessary to address their barriers because they are working to keep what they have been given, not trying to obtain something they can’t yet imagine.
Micah is proud to say that it has housed over 160 people since 2008. This effort has resulted in bringing the community’s chronic homeless numbers down by 33% in the last three years. The chronic homeless are what people often think of when considering the stereotypical population. They are generally homeless a year or more and have a disability.
A number of local, state and national groups are currently advocating for the implementation of housing first models and an end to homelessness. Information about their efforts can be found below: