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What is “housing first”?

April 21, 2019 | Portland Press Herald

…with housing first, people are given a safe, stable place to live and offered support, whether its for substance use disorder, mental illness, physical health or employment training.

“We really feel housing is itself therapeutic,” said Hillary Colcord, the director of Huston Commons, a housing-first facility in Portland.

Portland has three separate developments dedicated to housing the long-term homeless: Logan Place, Florence House, and Huston Commons. Each one was built by Avesta Housing and is staffed by the nonprofit social services agency Preble Street.

“It’s pretty remarkable to see people transitioning out of survival mode, worrying day-to-day and night-to-night about where they’re going to be … and (to see) people starting to believe they’re worth getting the medical care they have not had for a long time,” said Ali Lovejoy, the senior director of residential services at Preble Street.

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