Homelessness has only one solution:
permanent affordable housing for all.
“Housing First” is a research-based solution to ending homelessness that prioritizes the unconditional provision of housing to individuals experiencing homelessness. It is based on the belief that people require food, shelter, and safety before they can begin on the path to personal stability.
Housing First is widely considered a best practice in ending homelessness, and the movement continues to gain traction nationwide. Growing evidence shows that individuals housed through a Housing First model are more likely to remain housed permanently. In 2016, Former Governor Jerry Brown legally declared California a “Housing First” state, thereby requiring state housing/homelessness services agencies to incorporate elements of the Housing First model into their service offerings; the declaration also established the Homeless Coordination & Financing Council (HCFC) to ensure organizations’ adoption of Housing First guidelines and regulations.
Any housing program like DWC that operates a Housing First model does not require an individual to be employed, enrolled in substance use counseling, or to be receiving any kind of supportive services before they are considered eligible for housing. At DWC, we believe housing is a human right, and our first priority is to provide women with safe, permanent housing above all else.
We use a Housing First model to house women through our Permanent Supportive Housing Program (PSH) in downtown Los Angeles, and our Community-Based Housing Program (CBH) throughout Los Angeles County. Once housed, a DWC resident enjoys access to the individualized support she needs to work toward her goals and reach personal stability, including case management, physical and mental health care, job readiness, and community-building activities. Women experiencing homelessness have not only unique healthcare and job-training needs, but many unique vulnerabilities, too, given the disproportionate rate at which they experience interpersonal violence in comparison to their male counterparts. By prioritizing housing and empowering women to choose and engage actively in services — two central components of the Housing First model — we can ensure that they are equipped with the tools they need to remain housed in an effective, trauma-informed way.