Gothenburg homelessness policy: Housing First
Since 2003, Gothenburg bases its homelessness policy on the Housing First-model. The Housing First-model has first been developed in the United States. It aims to place homeless people into housing as soon as possible and only then solve other problems the homeless person might have (financial problem, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health problems). In the United States the model has proved to be very successful and that - with the right set of support - homeless people are able to sustain a tenancy.
In Gothenburg, the implementation of the Housing First-model involves three parties: Social services, property owners and the Gothenburg City Mission. Everything starts when an individual or family experiencing homelessness want to change their lives. Depending on the applicant's condition and need for medical care, detoxification, or anything that needs to be solved, social services decide in cooperation with landlords who is eligible to move into housing. In the next step the applicant meets The City Mission to discuss the conditions of housing. (The main condition is that the residents may acquire an apartment contract if they respect the requirements of the contract.)
Key elements of the Gothenburg policy
- Housing assistants support and encourage the residents to sustain their own accommodation.
- Solutions always look at the residents' individual needs.
- Collaboration and sharing between partners is a necessary condition for success.
- Inhabitants who have social and medical difficulties can obtain support from social services (21 district committees in Gothenburg) to get accommodation/apartments. Households with children have high priority.