The city will offer 30 places for the Housing First pilot project, ten of which are for women

Hamburg is trying out the 'Housing First' approach to homelessness

Hamburg is trying out the 'Housing First' approach to homelessness

It tries to target cases of long-term homelessness by offering people a stable living environment to be used as a jumping-off point to all other social services

This week, Hamburg announced the start of a new pilot project based on the 'Housing First' principle. Housing First refers to the concept of providing homeless people with unconditional housing agreements, before introducing them to other social services.

The city will offer 30 spots for people to participate in the three-year-long project. Instead of a universal approach, local authorities will aim specifically at people who have experienced long-term homelessness and either lack the capacity to deal with social services or suffer from mental issues or addiction.

A third of the spots are reserved for women

The city has decided to finance the project to the tune of 880,000 euros, as authorities will cooperate with local non-profit organisations, with the start planned for July. The organisations will pick out the properties where the homeless will find their new accommodations, as well as help them start contacting social services.

The offer is aimed at adult long-term homeless people with multiple problems like mental health problems, addiction, poor physical health, chronic illnesses or disabilities. At the same time, a third of the spots in the pilot project are reserved for women.

The idea behind Housing First is that by having a permanent home, people should be able to recover from living on the streets and get into a position to accept other types of help. Professionals will look after them, helping them to structure an everyday routine and for example, start taking on work offers.

This approach is trying to evaluate if offering homeless people stable conditions and their own living space is a way to help them in the long term. At the same time, the city also wants to see if such an approach can be used in certain cases as part of the overall concept of helping the homeless. The results of the study should be out by the second half of 2025.

According to a statement by the city, Social Senator Dr Melanie Leonard believes that no one should be homeless in Hamburg. Thus, authorities are determined to try the Housing First method as a way to try and reach people who otherwise may fall through the cracks.  



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU