Main Content

Housing First Principles for Australia in the spotlight

During Homelessness Week 2020, Ruah’s Leah Watkins presented at Shelter WA’s “Housing First – Policy into Practice” event. As the Manager of the 50 Lives, 50 Homes Program, Leah is also WA’s only Housing First trainer.

The event, which attracted more than 60 people in person or via Zoom, spanned over two sessions with the first session focusing on applying the Housing First Principles for Australia to a case study.

Housing First has been at the heart of Ruah’s Housing and Homelessness approach since launching the first Registry Week in 2016. Through the collaborative 50 Lives 50 Homes initiative which is also underpinned by a Housing First model, more than 270 people across 240 homes have been housed, with a retention rate of 81%.

Leah was one of four Australian trainers who joined the European Housing First Hub’s Train the Trainer program which saw her travel to Sweden, Manchester, Liverpool and the Netherlands.

“The Housing First Principles for Australia are just the start of the movement with a need identified to develop both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing First principles and principles that are aimed at young people,” said Leah.

The second session offered an introduction to the By-Name list – a new and more effective method of capturing information about people who are rough sleeping. Key components of the list include:

  • ensuring systems are capturing all those who are homeless in the community;
  • allowing for accurate assessment of who is entering homeless systems on an ongoing basis; and
  • allowing accurate tracking of their progress including capturing how successful implementing prioritisation and providing permanent housing has been.

To learn more, download the Housing First Principles for Australia located in the community resources section of our website.