one size fits all fails all

In 2013, the federal government implemented Housing First as a one-size-fits-all approach to homelessness.  They promised this “evidence-based practice” would end homelessness in a decade.  Instead, federal data shows that homelessness rose by over 16%, despite a 200% increase in spending. Why then, does this policy remain in place at the federal level, and in over 230 communities across the United States?  Why do policy makers continue to invest in failure?

The following research is evidence of the absolute failure of Housing First as a one-size-fits-all approach. ​

2024 Independent Women's Forum Policy Focus

2022 Discovery Institute White Paper

Housing First policy often results in “housing only” according to Dr. Robert Marbut, a Discovery Institute senior fellow and former Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The policy preference for “Housing First” has made matters worse, contributing to rising numbers of families, children and adults experiencing homelessness, according to this report.

2022 Cicero Institute White Paper

To better understand the “support” system we have created for those struggling with addiction and homelessness, I highly recommend this body of research. Judge does a great job encapsulating the 13 years of frustrations w/ “the system” I experienced while trying to help this population overcome and aspire to more.

2022 Texas Public Policy Foundation White Paper

Evidence that housing alone does not, and will never, solve homelessness as was promised under the one-size-fits-all roll-out of Housing First.

2021 Boston Study

A 14-year-long Boston study completed last year revealed that the focus on housing rather than on treatment and recovery saw impressive early results. But by year five only 36% of the housing recipients remained sheltered and nearly half of the cohort died due to a “trimorbidity” combination of medical, psychiatric, and substance-use disorder:

2020 USICH Report

“In June 2021, without any explanation, the Biden Administration removed a federally-commissioned report which had previously been available at the link above since its release in October 2020.  The report includes the first-ever data illustrating the abject failure of Housing First since it was instituted as a one-size-fits-all solution to homelessness in 2011-2013.  The report also includes the steps that need to be taken to reverse our country’s spiraling homelessness crisis.  Fortunately, several of us kept a copy of this report which can be downloaded here:

August 2022 update: USICH, after complaints from several of us, finally reinstated public access to this report which can be found here:

Representative Andy Barr, upon learning of the report’s removal, took this issue to the financial services committee under which homelessness falls, and passionately requested the report’s reinstatement. Unfortunately, his request was voted down on a party-line vote, but thanks to Representative Barr, the report, and its removal, are now in the Congressional record.  Click here to view the Representative’s testimony:

2018 National Academies of Science, Technology and Medicine

In this publication, the National Academies of Science Technology and Medicine- the premiere agency that advises the federal government on issues of science, technology and medicine- found that “except for some evidence that Permanent Supportive Housing improves health outcomes among individuals with HIV/AIDS, the committee finds that there is no substantial published evidence as yet to demonstrate that PSH improves health outcomes or reduces health care costs”.

2018 Homestretch, VA Report

2018 Legislative Auditor General, State of Utah Report

2013 Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness Report