L’Housing First e il suo percorso evolutivo dall’America all’Europa…
L’approccio Housing First affonda già le sue radici negli anni ‘50 e ‘60 negli Stati Uniti ma diventa più noto negli anni ‘90 quando Sam Tsemberis, considered its founder, start at New York the program Pathways to Housing that is based on the assumption that main the House is a primary human right.
The principles that guide this approach – and that completely overturn the traditional route with steps (staircase), evidently insufficient to respond to the complexity of Homelessness, because based on standard rules too strict (one size fit) – are: understanding the needs of the user; a support that lasts for as long as necessary; access to independent apartments located in various areas of the city (scattered site housing); separation of treatment from the right to housing; self-determination of the subject in the choices to be made; definition of a support program shared between social service and user (recovery orientation); harm reduction.
Many studies over the last twenty years have shown the positive effects of HF on different levels. The 80% of people manage to keep the House two years after entering the housing first program. Reducing the use of drugs or alcohol is high among people who remain supported by the program. The availability of a home will affect positively on the physical and mental wellbeing of the person by reducing the cost of medical treatment and medicines. The effect of "social inclusion" is enhanced by the opportunities that the House, as a place of self care, of identity and belonging to a community, has the person in housing first. Although the integration into employment remains a critical point (and also just being investigated by research on HF), some research has shown that the person may wish to be involved in the labour market through a process of self-esteem and empowerment that the accommodation can offer. Finally, much research has focused on reducing the cost of public administration and management of HF for the taxpayer than the staircase. PHF in fact does not require an offer of housing dedicated but suitable apartments are sufficient to accommodate people entering the program, which sharing the rent payment using, where there is, a portion of its federal minimum wage or allowance. In addition, HF approach reduces the use of beds in dorms, Hostels and the entrance to the emergency room (representing a savings of 50% costs for Administration and public health). Finally will lower the probability of commit a crime and be arrested (representing a savings for the taxpayer).
Although the Housing First is not the solution to all forms of homelssness (Pleace 2010), other experiences of housing first spread in different parts of the world and each one introduces into his model some novelty item that makes it more consistent to their specificity.
In Europe, starting from 2006, spreads a number of initiatives supported by the European PROGRESS programme. The first is "Discus Housing Firts" in Amsterdam, that along with "ACT in Copenhagen", “Turning Point Scotland"in Glasgow, “Casas Primeiro"in Lisbon, "Paper Forest Project" in Budapest are the top five European cities to embrace the so-called "pure" housing first model — the one conceived by Sam Tsemberis. These towns are part of the European network "Housing First Europe"that, born as a pilot project supported by the DG for Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities area, become over the years a network of continuous learning and dissemination of best practice.
The Conference held in Amsterdam last June 2013, where Italy also participated with fio. PSD as a member of the Steering group, It was an opportunity to discuss and facilitate comparison between promoters of HFE, where the effects of the approach were assessed (test cities) and other cities (These Peer cities) where you are experimenting only HF projects that follow the American model (Dublin, Gent, Gothenburg, Helsinki and Vienna).
Even more recently in Lisbon, the 9 December 2013, during the Conference Ending Homelessness, hosted by theUniversity Institute of psychological Sciences, Social and life, a group of scholars and experts from all over the world decide to expand your network and start the work of starting an international network on Housing First. On this occasion the Italy and fio. PSD are present and are promoters of the process. (Download the report)