Nashville has some catching up to do when it comes to understanding the Housing First philosophy.
The big “aha” moment usually happens when service provider listen to each other and describe the different levels of support that people need once they are in housing. Some people may be open to participating in comprehensive and intensive wrap-around services that provide mental and physical health services, occupational therapy, financial literacy, and other support. Others may seek assistance with the initial transition from literal homelessness to permanent housing, but over time will do well on their own once they’re linked with mainstream support systems such as health insurance, Food Stamps, Section 8 vouchers, child care, and/or employment services.
Nashville providers often still think that Housing First means moving a person into permanent housing. [Period]. That, however, is Housing Only. Some people may choose to participate in a transitional housing program with intensive services first before they want to lease an own apartment. Others may prefer a group setting over living on their own.
Our role as providers is to truly help people figure out what works for them and assist them with a housing plan that outlines goals based on their current situation.
Housing First is meeting people who experience literal homelessness where they are and walking alongside them to help them obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible and link them with the right level of support services so they are able to maintain their housing long-term. The goal always is to ensure people have the tools they need to remain in housing and avoid to fall back into homelessness.