Permanent Supportive Housing in the City of Atlanta: Transitioning to a Comprehensive Housing First Approach

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Bozarth, Ashley
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Empirical evidence demonstrates that permanent supportive housing (PSH) with a モHousing Firstヤ (HF) approach results in higher rates of housing stability for chronically homeless populations, compared to the use of emergency shelters and transitional housing with sobriety and service requirements. The Housing First model prioritizes low-barrier permanent supportive housing with wraparound services for chronically homeless individuals regardless of disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or histories of eviction or criminal activity. In 2009, the federal government fully embraced the HF model by prioritizing homeless assistance funding for Housing First permanent supportive housing projects through the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH). In 2013, the City of Atlanta approved formation of a nonprofit, Partners for HOME, to oversee Atlantaメs continuum of care (CoC) for homeless services. Partners for HOME is currently working with other homeless service stakeholders to create a coordinated entry system and apply the Housing First model across supportive housing programs in Atlanta. Qualitative data gathered from interviews with PSH providers and other CoC stakeholders is used to evaluate the transition process. The first part of the research paper defines chronic homelessness and explains the evolution and effectiveness of Housing First methods to reduce chronic homelessness. Next, the evolution of the federal governmentメs support of HF is described. In the second part of the paper, a brief history and current landscape of permanent supportive housing and Housing First in Atlanta are presented. Based on qualitative interview data and case studies from other CoCs in the United States, the research synthesizes current challenges in adapting an effective and comprehensive Housing First approach.
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