Housing first program
Housing First Program
Social Policy Analysis questions
1. The formal name of the social policy and what is its official purpose
The proposed policy is Housing First, which is a policy solution aimed at offering the homeless with fast solutions to their problem and offering the services they need. The policy provides permanent, affordable housing to families and individuals suffering from homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2014). This policy approach differs from other related strategies in its primary and immediate emphasis on providing accessible and sustainable housing solution.
2. A historical context, explaining the introduction of the social policy.
Conventionally, most of the providers of housing to the homeless made it a necessity to show evidence of “housing readiness.” Some of the requirements were to enter treatment or to achieve sobriety before offering permanent housing. To address this problem, the Housing First program needs to provide permanent supportive housing. Being different and separate program from “rapid re-housing”, it is a relatively new invention in social policy and human service programs. Being an innovation, this program has not undergone major changes. However, it spanned off from past programs to provide housing to the homeless. It developed as a substitute to emergency shelter/transitional housing progressions system. Major changes in policy have led to the actual implementation of this Housing First program. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed in February 2009 is one of these changes. The act would provide funding for the “Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program” (HPRP). The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was also signed the same year in May. The failure in these programs has led to Housing First, under the HEARTH Act, as the most effective policy (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2014).
3. Relevant economic and social justice issues and the social work profession’s ethical mandates
Policy makers should address the issue of homelessness as a priority, basically because of the problems that affect these vulnerable individuals. The most fundamental issue for these people is the need for shelter, safety, and warmth. Like any other human being, whether sick, poor or alien, the need for shelter is universal. Additionally, when the policy makers are looking into the issue of homelessness, it emerges that it is not the only issue as it breeds many others. Some of the related issues include health issues, security, hygiene and sanitary, dietary issues, socialization, and education among a host of other issues. Thus, beyond the lack of a reliable and safe home, the unsheltered face many other social problems. They are also at risk of social disadvantages, inadequate access to public as well as private services, disparities in personal infrastructures, and decreased access to necessities. There is also the problem of violence and crime where people are homeless in society. Such people are both the target and perpetrators of crime in the society (Parsell, 2011).
Social Issue question
1. The issue being addressed
The issue that is being addressed here is homelessness. Homelessness has been defined as a social problem involving the state of persons lacking a regular residence. According to Parsell (2011) individuals who are homeless are argued to lack the means to get and uphold regular, secure, safe and sufficient residence. Another perspective is looking at the term homelessness is the lack of adequate and regular nighttime dwelling.
2. Relevance of the issue today
Parsell (2011) argues that homelessness is a major problem in the United States that requires an adequate response. This is contrary to the argument that the issue is not as prevalent in the country as is the case in other nations particularly the developing ones. This argument is countered by data suggesting that the number of homeless in the country is on the increase, and thus there is a need for changes in policies to deal with the problem. Studies in 2012 revealed that families and children were the increasing groups of the homeless persons in the country (Meanwell, 2012). Poverty and unemployment, as well as other factors such as drug abuse, continue to increase the number of the homeless in society. The effects of the problem to the economy and the society also points to the urgency in addressing it.
3. Existing social policies that address aspects of this social issue
There have been policies and programs in the recent past aimed at addressing the problem of homelessness. However, none has successfully eradicated the problem. Among these policies are the Rapid Re-housing programs. However, the conditions imposed to qualify for the programs, such as evidence of sobriety or entry to treatment programs made them ineffective and counterproductive. The “Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program” (HPRP) funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was also implemented to address the problem. The Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program did not work, leading to the HEARTH Act of May 2009. Homeless Assistance programs, under the Act aimed at preventing homelessness also failed to address the problem due to limitations in community roles, definitional ineligibility, privacy, and limitations in eligible activities. The Housing First mandated under HEARTH Act comes in as part of the comprehensive strategy to address the problem (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2014).
Meanwell, E. (2012). Experiencing homelessness: A review of recent literature. Sociology
Compass, 6 (1), 72-85.
National Alliance to End Homelessness (2014). “Summary of the HEARTH Act”. Retrieved from www.endhomelessness.org. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
Parsell, C. (2011). Homeless identities: enacted and ascribed1. British Journal Of Sociology,