What is Housing First?

What is Housing First?

“There is almost nothing that causes homelessness that’s going to get better while you’re homeless. All of those things are going to be worse.”

On Thursday, June 10, Emily Pike, Executive Director of New Hope for Families and Chair of the South Central Indiana Housing Network, joined Wake Up! with United Way to explore “What is Housing First?”

“Think about what it’s like to try and be in recovery when you’re living on the street, or what it’s like to treat a mental health issue when you’re living somewhere that’s not safe.”
When we think about homelessness this way, it becomes clear that the older housing readiness model which relies on people solving the issues that led to their homelessness before providing housing is counterintuitive.

Our goals around homelessness as a community are to make it rare, brief, and non-repeating. Housing First at its core is the broad philosophy to house people impacted by homelessness as quickly as possible. Having stable housing creates a foundation that better equips a person to address the issues that led them to become homeless.

Homelessness is typically a combination of many reasons. Every day that someone stays unhoused, those complicating factors get worse.

Emily also emphasized that Housing First is not a solution to an affordable housing crisis. “It’s not going to solve our affordability issues. We need additional prevention tools that are targeted and also regional solutions.”

“Housing First is for everyone because housing is for everyone. Some people just need a little more support.”

Watch the event video below.




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Wake Up! with United Way is a collaborative project of United Way of Monroe County and IU’s Political and Civic Engagement Program. The series is made possible by the following sponsors:


Premier Series Sponsor

Bloomington Township


Presenting Sponsors

Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
IU Credit Union
Program Sponsors
Duke Energy
Old National Bank