Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life.

Here’s the caveat, Housing First does not require people experiencing homelessness to address the all of their problems, including behavioral health problems, that made getting and keeping housing “not” an ongoing challenge in their lives.Does Housing First even have a set of checks and balances where the individual seeking housing assistance graduates through a series of services programs before they can access housing?

A Housing First approach can be applied to help end homelessness for a household who

became homeless due to a temporary personal or financial crisis and has limited service needs, only needing help accessing and securing permanent housing. Housing First has even been found to be a particularly effective approach to ending homelessness for high need populations, such as chronically homeless individuals.

Permanent supportive housing is targeted to individuals and families with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness.

There is a large and growing evidence base demonstrating that Housing First is an effective solution to homelessness.

Studies have shown that rapid re-housing helps people exit homelessness quickly but Ready to Work looks at the individual factors that have disrupted “sustaining” housing, because anyone can scribble a name on a lease, but not everyone can keep it there.

Bridge House’s Ready to Work House & Employment Center opened its doors for the first time in 2015. Since that day Ready to Work has been bringing a new day to the lives of the homeless that sought assistance with Bridge House. When speaking with a few graduates of Ready to Work it’s easy to get a sense that these residents were guided to a point in their lives that they never thought they could ever reach.

Bridge House’s Ready to Work is supporting communities and building better lives at the same time in Colorado.

Isabel McDevitt is the Chief Executive Officer of Bridge House in Boulder as well as the creator and ongoing developer of Ready to Work and their House & Employment Centers for the homeless. Ready to Work operates out of 4747 Table Mesa Drive in Boulder and 3176 S Peoria Ct in Aurora, Colorado.