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Housing First Five Key Principles
In systems of care for people who experiencing homelessness, Housing First has achieved buzzword status. More and more housing organizations are adopting the term to describe their work towards ending homelessness. And most of these organizations don’t understand that Housing First is the name for a documented, evidence-based model of programming that was developed to support a very specific population.
child sitting near soccer field
My day job is at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank, where I spend my time helping case managers and their clients coming out of crisis situations select furniture for their new home. But my rest-of-the-time job is mom to my seven-year-old son. Until last week, these worlds really haven’t collided, but when my son decided to play soccer in our neighborhood, he was assigned to a team. Seventeen sponsored teams, only 1 of which was a nonprofit – and what team was he placed on?
Person eating tacos
Navigating SEPTA tunnels and the busy sidewalks of South Philadelphia is not an unfamiliar task to David. Adventuring for him comes in the form of tacos and pad-thai. David is a part of Restaurant Club, which is a way for participants to come together to explore new cuisines while building relationships with one another. This is only one small component of integrating community inclusion practices into our programming at Pathways to Housing PA.
 
Move in day for a participant
 The results our first participant survey were very positive. Our sample size was 270 out of 450 participants; generally, the benchmark for the population of people that we serve is 65-70% participation, and we had 67.5% of our participants respond. Though there’s always room for improvement, the researchers tell us that this large sample size was quite a success for our first attempt.
 
Alfonso smiling on his couch

On any given night, there are more than 6,200 homeless people in Philadelphia. Of those, more than 1,100 are sleeping outside. I was once one of those people. 

I struggled with substance use and lived on the streets for more than 10 years before I came into contact with Pathways to Housing PA. I could have gone home to live with my mom but I wasn’t living right. I didn’t want to bring my problems to her. I couldn’t have gotten into a program – I was using every day.
 

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