Housing First is a model of homeless services that promotes self-sufficiency through the immediate placement of service recipients in permanent accommodation without preconditions such as sobriety, treatment, or employment. Housing First principles have diffused across the Global North. To date, urban sociologists have devoted little attention to this shift despite national, state, and local governments embrace of Housing First principles. My research addresses this knowledge gap by using insight from neo-Foucauldian theory to analyze Housing First case management. I use mixed methods to comparatively examine strategies that Housing First providers to navigate macropolitical constraints in different urban settings.
My dissertation research shows disciplinary interventions of Housing First providers in the United States facilitate urban revitalization by removing visible signs of poverty that tarnish place branding by local boosters, growing landlord profits by delivering publicly subsidized property management services, securing a vital source of tax revenue that local governments rely on to lure investment/consumption, and reducing government outlays on costly emergency services. By relying on a demand-side intervention, Housing First providers ironically contribute to homelessness by buttressing stratified housing markets that concentrate disadvantage in marginalized communities.
My current research examines international differences in Housing First case management. I am particularly interested in the variation of macropolitical constraints that shape the practice of Housing First across urban landscapes.
This research is supported by
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Institute for Research on Poverty
Advanced Opportunity Fellowship
Crowe Dissertation Grant
John DeLamater Grant