Housing First is an approach to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to Permanent Housing (PH) without preconditions and barriers to entry. It contrasts with previous linear approaches in which Permanent Housing was only offered after a person experiencing homeless could demonstrate 'readiness' for housing. CoC Program funds support two types of PH: Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
is defined as Permanent Housing with indefinite leasing or rental assistance paired with supportive services, to assist homeless persons with a disability, or families with an adult or child member with a disability, achieve housing stability.
Eligibility for Permanent Supportive Housing
To apply, a person must be literally homeless, residing in a place not meant for habitation, a shelter on the street, and have a disability. Clients must be homeless for a year or more or have had four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (where the total of episodes equals at least 12 months. Participants in PSH apply through sub-recipients, non-profit agencies that provide case management, and other supportive services. The client receives rental assistance, and the sub-recipients must offer supportive services such as counseling, life skills, and psychiatric visits through the time the client is in the program.
Core Features of PSH Programs
That Permanent Supportive Housing initiatives include the following core components are required according to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
- Few to no programmatic prerequisites to permanent housing entry;
- Rapid and streamlined entry into housing;
- Full rights, responsibilities, and legal protection for tenants;
- Low barrier admission policies;
- Voluntary supportive services that can and should be used to engage tenants to ensure housing stability;
- Practices and policies to prevent lease violations and evictions;
- Applicability in a variety of settings.
More details on Housing First in PSH.
PSH in Indiana
The Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care supports numerous permanent supportive housing initiatives across the state. Currently, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) applies for funding on behalf of 33 PSH projects across the state, but several organizations and projects apply directly to HUD as well.
Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute
The Indiana Supportive Housing Institute is an important element of the Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative (IPSHI), which was launched by the IHCDA and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) in 2008 to further the strategy to end long-term and recurring homelessness. The focus is on finding lasting solutions instead of stop-gap programs. Since the initiative began, seven classes of teams have graduated, resulting in over 1,400 permanent supportive housing units added or under development in the state. This has helped to contribute to a significant (38%) reduction in chronic homelessness in Indiana. More details on the Institute.