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2.6. Active Engagement without Coercion

Active engagement without coercion, which is American terminology, can be described as an assertive, though very importantly not aggressive, way of working with Housing First service users. The emphasis is on engaging with Housing First service users in a positive way that makes them believe that recovery is possible. This is the technique by which Housing First pursues a recovery orientation (see 2.4).

Within the harm reduction and recovery orientation of Housing First, the emphasis is always on positively trying to get people using Housing First to engage with the help they need. Housing First service users are also asked to look constructively at any aspects of their behaviour that might threaten their exit from homelessness or their health, well-being and quality of life.

  • People using Housing First must never be threatened with sanctions for behaving or not behaving in certain ways. There should be no denial of access to housing, or threats to existing housing, or removal of support or treatment, if someone does not modify their behaviour in ways that Housing First staff may think would be beneficial to their well-being((One exception is if an individual threatens staff safety, in which case engagement may need to cease, either temporarily or permanently.)).
  • Equally, Housing First, using a recovery orientation and harm reduction, works actively and continually to emphasise that support, treatment and advice are always available and that positive changes to health, well-being, social integration and overall quality of life are possible. Discussion, advice, information, support and persuasion are all mechanisms to achieve this.
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2.5. Harm Reduction