Housing First as a PIE approach

Housing First - seen through a PIE lens

In the UK, where the PIE approach is best known, there is a cautious but growing confidence that Housing First services are most effective when the core principles of HF - 'the non-negociables (sic)' - are embedded in the wider framework of values, creativity and highly context-specific issues that the PIEs approach has set out to identify.

These issues cannot be stipulated as required practice for HF services. But they can now be explored in a more systematic way, and the learning can then be shared, using a framework such as PIEs 2 - which was expressly designed to include these wider issues.

That is not to say that the PIEs framework is the only such wider model, to support HF. Trauma Informed Care and the strengths model are also very valuable - as is Pretreatment - but they are also all quite compatible with the 'bigger picture' that PIE offers.

There is also the advantage that the PIEs approach is used in a wide range of contexts and services: so this may help to situate HF as an approach with a wider community of practice.

Finally, there is the advantage that with PIEs we now also have a well-developed assessment framework - the Pizazz - and even the software version, the PIE Abacus, which would in principle allow a much wider sharing of contextualised practice learning, to address the areas where the core principles cannot go.

This possibility is discussed below, and in one of the (currently suspended) Interest Groups  : HERE.


The Three Rs in Housing First

In HF, it is the Three Rs that take centre stage. The principles of HF provide some of the essential rules of the service.  The specification that HF service users must have a full standard tenancy agreement is one such rule. Likewise the rule that their acceptance of any support must be voluntary.

(It may seem a little paradoxical to say that there is a rule that there shall be no further rules over people’s behaviour, over and beyond the ordinary terms of a tenancy. But that is still the rule for all services that want to be in the HF camp.)

The 'psychological model' here is technically secondary – although TIC is often recommended and the strengths model is at the very least implicit, though not expected or required as part of the model. Other techniques and roles then follow similarly, to be devised by the service providers with all the creativity that they can manage, customised to particular circumstances.

PIEs, TIC and HF are clearly compatible. TIC and HF are both comfortably nested within the broader framework that PIE offers. But it goes a little further.

It does seem that when people are struggling to work out the best way in practice to implement TIC or HF in their service and in their particular context, to use that creativity that they need to meet the principles, the PIEs framework helps to identify more concrete and specific next steps. Certainly that is the message that we have been getting from many services that have wanted to get the best of both.

The PIE framework takes you on, to look at the areas where Housing First as a model had stopped short, or been

Rather than seeing these areas as too imprecise to be enshrined as definitive and 'non-negociable (sic)' the PIEs approach explores how the principles of HF can be translated into practical implications, with flexibility.

NB: The Pizazz in particular is designed to help services tease out – for themselves – where they can make changes.


Housing First, PIEs and the Pizazz : a webinar presentation

In autumn 2021, the PIElink co-hosted - with Alex Smith of Housing First England -  several forum discussions on the working relationship between Housing First and PIEs, with a particular focus then on community integration.   These discussions began to explore in more depth the suggestion that we can now see Housing First services as one application of the PIE approach.

The discussion began with a presentation (HERE) by Robin Johnson on how the PIEs 2 framework had aimed to address all the same issues that HF services too must address; and to include HF within its overview; and suggests an on-going effort to develop this further.

For the current state of play of this suggested working group, see : HF, PIEs and the Pizazz : HERE


Further background reading/listening/viewing

Housing First England is the natural home for HF development in England; and has many links to news and project reports.

PIElink pages

PIEs in 'scattered site' and 'networked housing' : HOME

Clubhouses, cores, and campus models : HERE

Housing First in the US : HERE

Housing First and PIEs in Europe : HERE

Pretreatment : HERE

PIEs and Trauma Informed Care : HERE


'Housing First and PIEs - A natural fit?'

(Robin Johnson's presentation at the October 2021 webinar)



Housing First and PIEs - a forum conversation excerpt with John McGlone


Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Housing First, PIEs and Pizazz : HERE

Roll out and embedding (for PIE leads) : HERE

PIEs and research : HERE


Library items: discussions

(Please note: you will need to be registered and logged in, to access items from the members' Library.)

NIMHE on the 'At Home?' study : HERE

Robin Johnson on Public health and social housing: a natural alliance?HERE

Dick on Laban on working with the 'pre-contemplative' stage user:  'Take a chance on me' : HERE

Alex Smith and Ray Middleton on Navigators and 'system change broker's: HERE


Case studies

Leonie Boland on OT in another key - visual methods assisting person-centred home-making : HERE

Jay Levy on A PIE of pathways - the work of REACH : HERE

1011 Lansdowne (Inter-agency eviction avoidance protocol) :  HERE

The Bell Hotel supportive housing project : HERE


Library items

Staircases, Elevators and Cycles of Change (Johnsen and Texeria) : HERE

Principles and practice in the psychology of homelessness, (Robin Johnson) : HERE

How gaps in US services had evolved; a discussion with April Connolly and John Yaswinski : HERE


Video & audio

Research, impact and community; a discussion on Housing First developments in the UK a discussion with Glasgow Housing Network