The Milwaukee Continuum of Care has committed to practicing the Housing First model. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development describes Housing First as follows:
“Housing First is a proven approach in which all people experiencing homeless are believed to be housing ready and are provided with permanent housing immediately and with few to no preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or barriers. Effectively implementing a Housing First approach involves prioritizing people with the highest needs and vulnerabilities, engaging more landlords and property owners, and making our projects client-centered spaces without barriers to entering and remaining in the project.”
Milwaukee CoC members have worked tirelessly on studying best practices in following the Housing First model, evaluating their own programs and the CoC system as a whole for meeting the criteria of being Housing First. The change to a Housing First model in the greater Milwaukee community network of homeless service providers was documented in the following video created by Shorewood High school students Jack Hietpas, Maeve McKaig, Oda Hausmann, and Julian Rodriguez.
In 2017, all CoCs in Wisconsin facilitated a Housing First training. Speakers at the training presented data findings on the effectiveness of Housing First in keeping those experiencing chronic homelessness stably housed, and the reduction of use of emergency services while being served by Housing First programs. Milwaukee CoC expects to offer training on Housing First on a recurring basis.