Understanding the Principle of Consumer Choice in Delivering Housing First

Based on an analysis of a Housing First program this study explores the principle of ‘consumer choice’. Housing First is a model aimed at rapidly ending experiences of housing loss. Based on interviews with 4 program staff and 7 Housing First recipients, this analysis brought to light complexities in ‘consumer choice’ . The provision of consumer choice can be constrained when housing markets are tight, or when consumers seek congregate living when scattered-site is the focus. Choice can also be a challenge if consumers request housing readiness prior to re-housing. While the principle of choice has allowed services to move away from a staircase model, also considered as a “one size fits all” approach, we need to critically assess whether our current system supports self-determination around unique needs and preferences. This paper provides a thorough discussion on the challenges associated with enacting the principles of Housing First, and how policy environments can either impede or support consumer choice.


Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Housing Studies