A social enterprise model of housing first: lessons from Canada’s At Home Chez Soi homelessness project [2020]

Research and practice demonstrate that Housing First (HF) more effectively ends homelessness for persons struggling with mental illness than traditional approaches. Less understood is how HF strengthens capacity among agencies supporting persons experiencing homelessness and the role social enterprises (SEs) offer in service delivery and revenue generation of the housing component of programs. This research describes an SE and capacity-building approach developed during the At Home Chez Soi study which examined the effectiveness of HF in five Canadian cities against other treatment approaches. Drawing on in-depth interviews, key findings reveal the importance of relationship and capacity building in supporting the development of SEs. Using Winnipeg, Manitoba as a case study, we propose the introduction of a Social Enterprise Model of Housing First (SEM-HF) that includes a capacity-building framework to provide persons with lived experience opportunities for employment and training while contributing to program sustainability.

Jino Distasio, Marcie Snyder & Arthur Ladd
Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness, 12 Feb 2020