You can’t eliminate homelessness without providing housing. A number of factors may have led to someone losing their home, but they don’t stand a chance to regain stability without a safe and reliable living environment.

That’s why Flagstaff Shelter Services offers is proud to offer much more than a band-aid solution to the problem of homelessness in Northern Arizona.

What is Housing First?

The National Alliance to End Homelessness explains the housing first approach as one that “is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues.”

In 2015, we introduced a program that would do just that.

How does Housing First work?

Housing first is an evidence-based approach to ending homelessness. It means just that: housing comes first.  Shortly after arriving at our emergency shelter, clients are paired with one of our skilled Housing Case Managers for housing-focused case management under the Housing First-aligned Rapid Rehousing model.

Housing case managers work with our network of dedicated community landlords to identify affordable housing options that suit our clients’ needs

Financial assistance is provided as needed for rental application fees, security deposits, and first month’s rent.

But our Housing First program does not end with the lease agreement.

Move-in day is always thrilling. It’s hard to describe the mix of joy and relief we see in our client’s eyes when they first receive the keys to their new home. But rapid-rehousing is just one part of our housing first program.

Throughout the process prior to and after securing permanent housing, clients are offered the wrap-around, supportive services they need to maintain their housing and become healthy, productive members of the community.

Barriers to employment are intentionally and strategically addressed. We provide resources to help clients prepare for success in the workplace and coordinate with our partners to identify and apply to local job opportunities. We also connect clients with mainstream resources, such as public benefits, physical and behavioral health care, and other agencies’ services.

Households secure permanent housing every week
People move out of homelessness every year
of the people we help rehouse do not return to homelessness

Housing First works

It costs roughly $2,500 to move someone out of homelessness for good. Thanks to our generous donors and amazing network of community partners, Flagstaff Shelter Services is able to secure housing for 2 households every week. Almost everyone who has graduated from our program remains stably housed today.

“A critical part of our community.”

Coral Evans, former Mayor, City of Flagstaff

Better together

Small acts of kindness can make big things happen. Check out some simple things you can do that will get us one step closer to eliminating homelessness in Flagstaff.