MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Dick, Caroline

Geographical Areas

Medicine Hat, Alberta, Toronto


This paper assesses the Housing First approach to homelessness, which provides people living on the street with permanent homes before offering them optional support, as opposed to the traditional approach to housing, where people need to meet certain conditions, such as sobriety, before being assisted to obtain housing. It uses case studies from Medicine Hat, Alberta and Toronto to explore the implementation of Housing First in two Canadian cities. The paper concludes by providing best practices and offering cautions for municipalities considering this approach. The case studies indicate that data collection, stakeholder engagement, a systems approach, and support from all levels of government are important components for any municipality considering Housing First.