An evaluation of a Housing First program for chronically homeless women [2018]

Housing First is rapidly developing as a promising practice for ending homelessness. However, concerns have been raised regarding application for particular populations, such as women. Using a critical feminist lens, this evaluation assessed a Housing First program delivered in a mid-sized city in Ontario, Canada. The evaluation included interviews with program participants, program providers, and community key informants. Ultimately, the program proved successful in housing a small group of chronically homeless women, demonstrating that Housing First works with women, and works best when designed with the unique needs of women taken into consideration. The program achieved moderate fidelity to the Housing First model, and a number of recommendations are provided to better meet the unique needs of women. In particular, the issue of unresolved grief and loss in the context of child apprehension was identified as a root cause of ongoing trauma. Consideration is also given to the intersection between mental health services and Housing First programs.

Abe Oudshoorn, Cheryl Forchuk, Jodi Hall, Tracy Smith-Carrier, Amy Van Berkum
Journal of Social Inclusion, Vol 9, No 2, 2018