The Role of Choice in Housing First

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This study examined the types of housing features considered important to a sample of homeless persons diagnosed with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder and the relationship between the degree to which important features were obtained in subsequent housing and subjective quality of life, clinical and housing outcomes at 3-month and 1-year follow-up periods. After controlling for significant clinical and sociodemographic covariates, results from regression analyses indicate that the degree to which a client’s individual housing preferences were realized in dwellings is significantly associated with greater quality of life in the future, but not clinical outcomes or housing tenure.

The significant relationship between realized housing preferences and quality of life is consistent with other research in this area that has shown that having a sense of choice in where you want to live is important for subsequent quality of life.

For example, the amount of choice persons perceive to have in their housing has been linked to more satisfaction with housing, greater residential stability, enhanced psychological well-being, decreased hospitalization, and improved roles in work and social settings.

O-Connell et al. (2006)


An Examination of Fulfilled Housing Preferences and Quality of Life Among Homeless Persons With Mental Illness And/or Substance Use Disorders | The Homeless Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2020, from
O’Connell, M. M., Rosenheck, R. E., Kasprow, W. J., & Frisman, L. (2006). An Examination of Fulfilled Housing Preferences and Quality of Life among Homeless Persons with Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorders. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 33, 354–365.


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