Since its founding nearly three decades ago, SELF has led the way in developing effective programming for Philadelphia’s homeless. We continue to identify innovative solutions to end homelessness and improve the delivery of services within the city’s emergency shelter system.

Housing First

Housing First provides households at risk of or experiencing homelessness housing quickly without preconditions or service participation requirements. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Housing First, “prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues.”

SELF uses the basic elements of Housing First to implement a Housing Focused approach. Housing Focused is when assistance provided to households at risk of or experiencing homelessness is focused on moving to and maintaining permanent housing.

In this way, SELF supports housing as a basic right and believes that some level of acuity must be used to support the appropriate participant focused housing choice.  These choices can range from diversion and prevention support to keep individuals and families living in their own homes, to emergency housing (shelter), to permanent supportive independent or shared housing and permanent housing. SELF’s approach relies on transformational engagement with participants to help determine the appropriate housing response.  We believe that “one size does not fit all” given the diversity of participants and participant needs. By recognizing the unique experiences of our participants along with our housing focused approach, SELF believes our organizational goal of returning transformed participants to families and communities will be best received thus creating the much-needed public support and political will to support programs for those at risk and/or experiencing homelessness.

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