Participant perspectives on housing first and recovery: early findings from the At Home/Chez Soi project

Lauren Polvere, Eric Macnaughton, Myra Piat
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 2013, 36 (2): 110-2

OBJECTIVE: This study presents early qualitative findings from participant narratives collected for At Home/Chez Soi, a pan-Canadian demonstration project evaluating the Housing First approach. The aim of the study was to better understand how receiving housing prior to treatment impacts engagement and envisioned recovery for previously homeless individuals with mental illness.

METHOD: Semistructured interviews were conducted with recently housed participants within the five research sites (N = 27). An analysis of early findings was performed, and themes were identified using the constant comparative method.

RESULTS: Most participants reported that housing represents an early step in rebuilding identity, which enabled them to envision a different future. A subgroup experienced demoralization related to personal challenges, and expressed concerns about adjustment issues and social isolation.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: By providing choice regarding housing, Housing First facilitates a sense of personhood, which is essential to recovery. However, some recently housed individuals with complex needs may require additional supports to address early adjustment issues. (

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