Sheltering Hearts Housing Program
immediate needs of low-income persons by providing access to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Our housing program, Sheltering Hearts, was adopted from the Housing First Model. Furthermore, we commit to ensuring our clients are housed permanently. Participation in our housing program is not contingent with services or treatment. Once our tenants are housed, social services and support are provided on-site to help our clients comply with a standard lease agreement. Our agency contracts with another nonprofit to provide voluntary and client- driven support services; services are flexible and customized to meet the individual needs of each recipient. The support plan is based on the tenant’s needs and desires, and may address several domains, including housing retention, protective payee services, vocational services, and reconnecting with friends and family members. Tenant participation in support services is not time limited and ongoing long-term connections are encouraged.
What is the Housing First Philosophy?
The Housing First philosophy was built on a dramatic shift from the expectation that people had to be “housing ready,” (clean, sober, and psychiatrically stable) before housing was provided, to the provision of housing first followed by support needed for the individual to stabilize and maintain that housing. It is based on the notion that housing is a human right. Sam Tsemberis in New York was one of the pioneers of this movement during the 1900s (Pathways to Housing, 2008).
Housing First programs may be constructed in various ways, but share the same guiding principles:
1The immediate goal of the program is to help people secure housing as quickly as possible.
2Provide a variety of support services following the housing placement.
3Provide flexible, client-driven support services, based on the individual’s needs and desires.
4Participation in housing program is not contingent with services or treatment.