Housing First programs from a right to housing perspective

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The notion that Housing First (HF) is a human-rights based approach to housing some of society’s most vulnerable citizens is often alluded to in the literature, but seldom interrogated. In this paper, we examine whether HF in Alberta, Canada is practiced in a way that realizes the right to housing for chronically homeless people. We do so using four human rights principles identified by Fukuda-Parr: non-discrimination, participation, adequate progress and remedy. Based on interviews with staff of 14 HF programs in three cities, we identify constraints to a human rights-based approach, including time-limited support, which necessitates a strong emphasis on housing sustainability. We also identify positive practices, such as client participation in decision-making and tenant rights education. The paper also provides a model for systematically assessing whether HF programs respect, protect and fulfil the right to housing.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International