Yellowknife Housing First
Housing First approaches to homelessness provide access to housing as a first intervention, without requiring that individuals maintain sobriety or otherwise demonstrate that they are housing ready.” (Stock, M, 2016). In Canada, to date, Housing First approaches have been shown to have positive outcomes for participants and to result in significant cost savings, (Goering, P., 2014, p. 5), and to have been successfully adapted to cities and municipalities of various sizes (Falvo, N., 2011, p.31; Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness, 2013).
The core principles of housing first are:
- Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements
- Consumer choice and self-determination
- Recovery orientation
- Individualized, recovery-oriented and client-driven supports
- Social and community integration
While the application of the housing first model may vary by jurisdiction due to resource availability or target population, these five elements are critical to the approach (Homeless Hub, 2015).
The Yellowknife Housing First Program began in September of 2016, and reached our goal of supporting twenty participants in December 2017. Our program staff consists of one team lead and three service coordinators. Program staff are responsible for assisting clients with finding and moving into their new apartment, assisting with furnishing, income support and insurance arrangements, and goal setting. Program staff meet with housing first participants in their homes at minimum once per week, and assist participants with accessing appointments and other needs that they need assistance to meet. Participants in the program also have 24-hour access to a staff member on rotating on-call, to be contacted in case of emergency.
Individuals interested in the Yellowknife Housing First Program, or who would like to arrange donations of furniture or other items, can contact the Housing First Team Lead at (867) 447-4661.