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Housing Forward’s programs and services are guided by client-centered, best practice-informed approaches which form a foundation for our work with our clients.  The core best practices which are essential to our work are:

Housing First

Housing First is an evidence-based practice that looks at housing as a tool, rather than a reward, for recovery. It is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing permanent housing first and then providing services as needed and requested. Housing First believes that any person experiencing homelessness is ready for housing.

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Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Informed Care is an evidence-based practice that teaches service providers and their organizations about the triggers and vulnerabilities of trauma survivors. Trauma Informed Care helps providers to provide care to trauma survivors more effectively, while avoiding re-traumatization.

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Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction is an approach or strategy aimed at reducing the risks and harmful effects associated with substance use and addictive behaviors for the individual, the community and society as a whole. The main focus is placed on reducing harm while substance use continues.

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Prevention and Diversion

Prevention and Diversion can reduce the number of people entering the homeless assistance system and the demand for shelter and other programmatic housing beds.  Prevention assistance provides direct aid to households in preserving their current housing situation. Diversion assists households in finding housing outside of shelter while they receive services to stabilize their housing or help them move into permanent housing.

Motivational Interviewing

A collaborative, person-centered approach to strengthen motivation to change. It offers a useful framework for interacting with people who are experiencing homelessness or struggling with substance use, mental illness, and traumatic experiences. Motivational interviewing is rooted in an understanding of how hard it is to change learned behaviors, many of which have been essential to survival on the streets.


SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.