“Not a forever model”: The curious case of graduation in Housing First

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This article investigates how Housing First (HF) is practiced in Alberta, Canada, with a focus on the concept of graduation. The dominant HF model, Pathways, holds that client support should be time-unlimited. However, HF is highly mobile and increasingly characterized by ambiguity and drift away from Pathways principles. In Alberta, one prominent example of drift is the notion that clients can and should graduate – that is, “exit” HF programs after a certain time. Interviews conducted with 45 participants in three Alberta cities in 2014–15 revealed commonplace, but contested, graduation practices. Interviewees noted that graduation can be necessary to make room for new clients, and may be expected and encouraged by coordinating organizations. They expressed varied concerns about graduation, and the negative influence it could have on client relationships and housing stability. In particular, they emphasized clients’ ongoing dependence on rental subsidies, and the risk of relapse into homelessness.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Anderson-Baron, J.T. & Collins, D. 2017 ‘“Not a forever model”: The curious case of graduation in Housing First.’ Urban Geography, 39(4): 587-604.
  • Source
    Urban Geography
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