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Housing First

Housing First is an approach that focuses on moving people who are chronically and episodically homeless as rapidly as possible from the street or emergency shelters into permanent housing with supports that vary according to participant need. The supports are provided by a Housing First Case Manager, who serves as a main point of contact for the participant from assessment to follow-up and who is provided backed up support by a Housing First Supervisor, Housing First Specialist and a community of practice.

Housing First is usually based on 5 core principles:

  • Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements

  • Consumer choice and self-determination

  • Individual, recovery-oriented, and client driven supports

  • Harm Reduction

  • Social and community integration

Housing First requires a community of practice and specific program guidelines that reflect the geographical area of focus of the program. In the links following are resources specific to community partners across Simcoe County, as well as the Simcoe County Regional Housing First Program’s vision, principles and program operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Housing First

Can I still get evicted from my apartment if I’m part of the program?

Yes, even though you are part of the Housing First Program, you would be entering into a standard lease with the landlord of the unit.  Under the terms of the lease, you will be expected to fulfil your responsibilities as a tenant.  Responsibilities like paying your rent and being a good neighbor.  The case manager can help you learn about your rights and responsibilities so you can be successful in your tenancy.

Do I have to pay rent if I’m part of the program?

Yes, a person participating in the program is responsible to pay their rent. 

  • The amount of rent is different for everyone and depends on availability of rent subsidies, your income and the cost of rent.
  • The case manager will help you make a budget and plan to make rent payments on time.
Does the Housing First Program provide people with actual apartments or houses?

No, the Housing First Program does not have apartments or housing to rent to people.

  • You will be assisted to rent a unit from private market landlords.
  • The program has Housing Specialists and their job is to find landlords that want to rent their units to people participating in the Housing First Program.
  • It can sometimes take time to find a unit that a person wants and can afford, but the Housing First Program will keep working to help find a housing unit.
How do I know if Housing First is for me?

Are you currently homeless and:

  • Have a total of at least 6 months (180 days) of homelessness over the past year


  • Have repeated experiences of homelessness over the past 3 years, that add up to at least 18 months (546 days)

Are you interested in finding and maintaining a home?

Are you interested in receiving a lot of support from a support worker?

  • A case manager will meet with your at least once a week to help you make goals and help you work to achieve your goals.
Is there a wait list?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room in the program for everyone that wants to participate.  So, when people are referred to the program, those people who are most in need of support get assigned a case manager first.  The program also asks that participants actively participate in the program.

What is expected of me if I decide to participate in the Housing First Program?

If you decide to participate in the program, you would be expected to:

  • Commit to finding and keeping safe housing, with the help of a case manager
  • Meet with your case manager regularly, at agreed upon times
  • Work with your case manager to develop personal housing and support plans that outline goals, actions and timelines, decided by you
  • Actively work to meet your goals
  • Agree to follow the terms of your lease and pay your rent on time every month
  • Work toward being a good tenant and neighbor
What kind of support will I get if I’m part of the program?

Some of the support you can get if you are part of the program is:

  • Having a case manager to help you with the goals you have;
  • Help find and keep housing;
  • Making sure your basic needs are met;
  • Reconnecting with family and friends;
  • Getting connected to other services
  • Learning how to be a good tenant and neighbour
  • Help to get a job or go back to school
  • Help with trauma, addictions or substance use
Will I get a rent subsidy if I’m part of the program?

A rent subsidy may be available to you if assistance is needed to make sure your rent is paid in full and if funding is available. 

  • You will work closely with a case manager to complete an Honest Monthly Budget that helps to understand how much rent can be paid to a landlord.
  • Subsidies are time limited and are reduced over time to help you become more successful in paying your rent over time.
  • Subsidies are only available when you is working closely with your case manager