The Housing First Partners Conference (HFPC) is co-presented by DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) and Pathways Housing First Institute. It was launched in 2012 as a biennial conference to further the conversation among practitioners about Housing First as a proven model for ending homelessness for those with chronic health conditions and long stints of street homelessness. Since then, Housing First has been implemented across many elements of the crisis response and homeless systems and is being successfully applied in diverse interventions and as an overall community approach to addressing homelessness.
HFPC 2012 forged this foundational national forum and dialogue for housing, health and mental health service providers, as well as federal, state and local government officials, researchers, advocates, trainers, peers, funders and thought leaders engaged in ending homelessness through Housing First approaches. HFPC 2014 expanded the discussion to include a collective understanding of Housing First policy and practice at the local, national and international levels and the role it is playing in changing mainstream systems. In 2016, we took Housing First to scale and expanded its implementation across all elements of our homelessness services, housing systems and policy change. HFPC 2018 will again provide this unique focus and forum to move the field forward again with the theme “Assuring Program Integrity in a Changing Environment.” It will focus on topics that ensure Housing First integrity as an overall community approach and a whole system response to achieve health, recovery and well-being of people experiencing homelessness.
Dr. Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in New York City in 1992 based on the belief that housing is a human right.
At Pathways, Tsemberis developed the consumer-driven evidence-based Housing First model that provides immediate access to permanent supportive housing to individuals who are homeless and who have mental health and addiction problems.
Dr. Tsemberis leads Pathways Housing First, which trains direct service organizations, conducts research projects, and influences policy related to Housing First.
As the creators of the evidence-based Housing First model, Pathways comprehensive Training Institute provides agencies and communities with the training and technical assistance necessary to implement or to transition to Housing First. Our training staff has years of direct clinical experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness. Pathways Housing First help communities and agencies plan, implement, and sustain the Housing First model. Following an initial needs-assessment consultation, our expert faculty individualizes trainings and consulting to match agency/community needs.
Founded in 1979, DESC began as an emergency shelter for vulnerable homeless men and women living with mental illnesses, substance-use disorders, and developmental disabilities. Today, it is the Northwest’s most comprehensive provider of services for chronically homeless adults, including shelter, housing, crisis services, mental healthcare, substance-use disorder treatment, and employment support. All DESC services are predicated on the concept of Housing First and the simple premise that clinical and social stabilization occur faster and are more enduring when the chaos of homelessness is eliminated from someone’s life. A safe and healthy place to live should be the first treatment goal. Through this model, DESC has helped thousands improve their housing stability and health status, and has demonstrated significant systems cost avoidance.
DESC believes that sharing information with its peers results in better services, greater housing success and a faster end to homelessness in all of the communities. DESC's Consultation and Technical Assistance programs represents over 35 years of accumulated wisdom and strategies developed to address the most vulnerable and most difficult to serve chronically homeless population. Its curriculum is designed to help organizations and communities achieve the high level of success that characterize DESC programs. It is based on specific Housing First principles and evidence based approaches to ending homelessness.