Housing First deserves a second look

Stephen Harper’s federal Conservative government and the Yukon’s NDP do not exactly see eye-to-eye on most issues. So it’s a strange sight to see our Official Opposition champion the same issue as Ottawa, only to see the territorial government reject the matter out of hand. The issue is, admittedly, a little uncharacteristic for the Harper government to embrace, as the prime minister is usually wary of taking on new commitments on the social side of the ledger. It’s an approach to helping the homeless dubbed Housing First, which posits that it’s preferable to provide shelter to the hardest to house, with few strings attached. This means, among other things, allowing homeless alcoholics to continue drinking in government-subsidized digs, without necessarily accepting programming. This idea appalls some social conservatives, who reckon that salvation for such down-and-outs will only come from strength of character, rather than government hand-outs. There is, however, something appealing in Housing First for fiscal conservatives: a growing body of evidence shows it saves governments money by taking repeat clients off the circuit between homeless shelter and emergency room.

See the full article by John Thompson in the Yukon News