Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Godwin Arku


Over the past decade, “Housing First” has gained momentum as an approach to address the needs of individuals facing homelessness. More recently adopted within the Canadian context, Housing First has received considerable praise for effectively housing the chronically and episodically homeless, by getting them off the streets and out of emergency shelters. While the increased adoption of Housing First within the homeless sector in Canada has been backed by evidence-based research, qualitative studies regarding the perceptions of front-line service providers towards Housing First are limited. Using qualitative methods, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with service providers and program participants from three separate Housing First programs in Southern Ontario. The data was analyzed to develop key themes surrounding the effective implementation and operation of Housing First programs. The results shows that while service providers and participants believe that, overall, Housing First is the best approach to housing the chronically and episodically homeless, criticisms and challenges of the approach still exist. The findings call for the increased funding by all levels of government towards the development of new affordable housing stock as well as the importance of building strong relationships with housing providers and other non-profit agencies for the continued success of Housing First Programs.