Housing First, a new program from the Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, provides housing and case management services to chronically homeless individuals and families in the city of Eau Claire.
The Housing First model is simple: a homeless individual's primary need is stable housing, so we will provide housing first. Clients are given an assessment by a case manager, and those who are deemed most vulnerable are placed directly into apartments. The apartments are not all in one location, but spread throughout the community to help clients reintegrate more quickly. Once housing is provided, a case manager works with the clients in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment.
In comparison, other homeless programs have moved clients through different levels of housing - temporary shelters, followed by short-term transitional units, and then subsidized housing.
Western Dairyland's Housing First program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), will provide long-term housing for nine individuals and six families. Furniture, housewares and cleaning supplies for the apartments are being donated by community members and local businesses.