People experiencing homelessness present with many complex and diverse needs. Once they are housed, these needs do not magically disappear.
Three of the five fundamental principles of Housing First are connected to the provision of supports including: a recovery orientation, individualized and client-driven supports and social and community integration. But provision of supports is necessary beyond Housing First programs; all people who have previously experienced homelessness could benefit from these support interventions.
Supports have several main foci:
- Providing physical and emotional support including case management, counselling, medical supports and mental health assistance.
- Helping with housing and landlord-tenant issues.
- Assisting with financial needs including ID replacement, rent supplements or assistance in accessing government benefits and assistance.
- Enabling engagement with meaningful activities including volunteering, community connections and recreational or social activities.
- Assisting people to adjust to individualized living including life skills training such as budgeting, shopping, cooking and housekeeping.
- Helping people access education, training or employment.
Supports can help reduce social isolation and disengagement. People who have been living in shelters for a lengthy period may have problems adjusting to living alone after being in congregate living situations.