(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
(a) The Legislature finds that many communities plan to manage homelessness rather than plan to end it.
(b) The Legislature also finds that for most of the past two decades, public and private solutions to homelessness have focused on providing individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness with emergency shelter, transitional housing, or a combination of both. While emergency shelter programs may provide critical access to services for individuals and families in crisis, they often fail to address their long-term needs.
(c) The Legislature further finds that Housing First is an alternative approach to the current system of emergency shelter or transitional housing which tends to reduce the length of time of homelessness and has proven to be cost-effective.
(d) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to encourage homeless continuums of care to adopt the Housing First approach to ending homelessness for individuals and families.
(2) HOUSING FIRST METHODOLOGY.— (a) The Housing First approach to homelessness differs from traditional approaches by providing housing assistance, case management, and support services responsive to individual or family needs after housing is obtained. By using this approach when appropriate, communities can significantly reduce the amount of time that individuals and families are homeless and prevent further episodes of homelessness. Housing First emphasizes that social services provided to enhance individual and family well-being can be more effective when people are in their own home, and:
1. The housing is not time-limited.
2. The housing is not contingent on compliance with services. Instead, participants must comply with a standard lease agreement and are provided with the services and support that are necessary to help them do so successfully.
3. A background check and any rehabilitation necessary to combat an addiction related to alcoholism or substance abuse has been completed by the individual for whom assistance or support services are provided.
(b) The Housing First approach addresses the societal causes of homelessness and advocates for the immediate return of individuals and families into housing and communities. Housing First provides a critical link between the emergency and transitional housing system and community-based social service, educational, and health care organizations and consists of four components:
1. Crisis intervention and short-term stabilization.
2. Screening, intake, and needs assessment.
3. Provision of housing resources.
4. Provision of case management.