Housing First: From Local Social Innovation to a New Policy Strategy?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:06
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Fabio COLOMBO, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy
Tatiana SARUIS, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy
Housing First is a model of intervention on homelessness, created in New York City in 1992. It is growing and spreading in US and Europe and it is strongly challenging the traditional staircase approach, whose underpinning logic is that homeless people are expected to qualify for housing after having proved to be ready for it. For this reason, they are placed in different forms of shelters and other collective, temporary and supervised accommodations. The Housing First approach overturns this logic and considers housing stability as the pre-requisite to promote health and mental well-being, support social inclusion, participation and activation.

We compare seven qualitative case-studies (conducted within the European research project ImPRovE: Poverty, Social Policy and Innovation) on local initiatives inspired to the Housing First model realised in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, UK) and US, with the aim to highlight:

- Which are the trajectories of this process of innovation? How is the new approach influencing and how can it be influenced by the different context conditions and welfare models?

- Which policy-making strategies and processes are being successful in promoting innovation? Which are the governance challenges to be faced to transform new ideas into mainstream policies?

- Which actors and coalitions are influencing the innovative/conservative processes? To what extent Housing First has introduced new decision-making processes, promoting (or not) participation and including (or not) new actors or social groups?

The local practices inspired to the original model present some common features, but also relevant differences depending on the local needs, actors and institutional conditions, as regards different aspects: governance coalitions, strategies and styles, funding, target groups, aims and activities.