Housing First: Social and Communal Integration

Housing First:  Social and communal integration

The fifth and final aspect of Housing First revolves around both social and communal integration. Housing first is most successful when program participants feel a sense of belonging and community supports. This part of Housing First often goes hand in hand with the other areas of the concept as one’s specific integration is unique to their needs, desires, and dreams along with various other factors. Embracing a literal physical integration into the community through activities and programming develops an emotional connection to both the environment and the people in their neighborhoods. If staff can identify meaningful and supportive activities for households to engage in, the likelihood that they experience social isolation is decreased. Social isolation ultimately can cause a decline in mental and physical health, along with developing a sense of withdrawal. Additionally, creating and fostering that attachment and connection to the community creates a sense of community pride, likely keeping people in the area longer while continuing to give a sense of purpose and accomplishment to participants. As Susan C Young once said, “Connecting with others gives us a sense of inclusion, connection, interaction, safety, and community. Your vibe attracts your tribe, so if you want to attract positive and healthy relationships, be one! Staying connected and getting reconnected feeds the flow of goodness which empowers our humanity.”

Within Newcap’s Housing Department, staff work with the participants to develop social and communal integration through a variety of avenues. Some of the avenues consist of: 

– Connecting with support groups or peer mentoring programs for those with similar experiences

– Connecting participants with free or low cost activities or memberships through entities like the YMCA

– Helping participants find events to attend with their families

– Teaching life skills around social cues and interactions, along with healthy relationships with peers, partners, and professionals


By Erika Villacrez, C0-Housing Director