Exploring Transitions Within a Project-based Housing First Setting: Qualitative Evaluation and Practice Implications


The Housing First (HF) approach is a model of housing that entails the provision of immediate, permanent, low-barrier, supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals either in separate apartments within a larger community (known as scattered-site HF) or in a single building (known as project-based HF). One recent innovation is the application of project-based HF with chronically homeless individuals with alcohol problems. Although initial studies have shown its effectiveness, there is currently no research on residents’ and staff ’s experiences living and working in a project-based HF program. The purpose of this article was to document these experiences and highlight strengths and challenges of project-based HF programs. Using data collected from naturalistic observations, agency documentation, one-on-one resident interviews, and a staff focus group, we delineated transitional periods, including moving into project-based HF, community-building, managing day-to-day, and transitions from project-based HF. Findings are interpreted to help health care policymakers and providers envision the role of project-based HF in comprehensive public health efforts and to integrate lessons learned into their own clinical practice.