Examining provider perspectives within housing first and traditional programs

Benjamin F. Henwood, Marybeth Shinn, Sam Tsemberis, Deborah K. Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pathways' Housing First represents a radical departure from traditional programs that serve individuals experiencing homelessness and co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. This paper considered two federally funded comparison studies of Pathways' Housing First and traditional programs to examine whether differences were reflected in the perspectives of frontline providers. Both quantitative analysis of responses to structured questions with closed-ended responses and qualitative analysis of open-ended responses to semistructured questions showed that Pathways providers had greater endorsement of consumer values, less endorsement of systems values, and greater tolerance for abnormal behavior that did not result in harm to others than their counterparts in traditional programs. Comparing provider perspectives also revealed an "implementation paradox;" traditional providers were inhibited from engaging consumers in treatment and services without housing, whereas Housing First providers could focus on issues other than securing housing. As programs increasingly adopt a Housing First approach, implementation challenges remain due to an existing workforce habituated to traditional services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-274
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Frontline providers
  • Homelessness
  • Housing first
  • Serious mental illness
  • Supportive housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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