[image-1]Charleston City Council is set to approve a new resolution in support of the Housing First model as an approach to combating homelessness in the area.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has recognized Housing First initiatives as a proven method of providing stability to those facing homelessness by connecting them to permanent housing with few to no barriers, such as treatment requirements or behavioral guidelines. The Council on Homelessness identifies several core elements necessary to maintain an effective Housing First program.

One main point is that access to housing programs is not based on “sobriety, minimum income requirements, lack of a criminal record, completion of treatment, participation in services, or other unnecessary conditions.” The council also advises that the eviction of tenants in supportive housing is avoided and residents are given flexible payment options when it comes to rent.

According to the resolution being considered by Charleston City Council, many of the most effective approaches to supportive housing studied by the Mayors’ Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing — appointed by a coalition of Lowcountry municipal leaders — found the Housing First model set itself apart by placing an emphasis on placing people into stable housing before addressing the other needs of the homeless individuals. These “wrap-around” services include voluntary programs to improve the medical, mental, or other needs of the person struggling with homelessness.

“Whereas, the City of Charleston desires to support the Mayors’ Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing by endorsing their use and support of the Housing First model and their desire to end homelessness,” reads the resolution, “Now, therefore let it be resolved that Mayor John J. Tecklenburg and the City of Charleston City Council recognizes the necessity of implementing the Housing First model in the Charleston community as an approach to ending homelessness and will encourage other local governments and partners at all levels to collaborate toward that end.”

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