Housing First

The basic rules of Housing First are:

  1. Dont make any disturbance in the neighborhood.
  2. Pay the rent (on time)
  3. Accept guidance

The concept of Housing First came over from the United States in 2006. It’s based on the idea that homeless people with an addiction (or other mental illness) would primarily benefit from having their own home. In Amsterdam, the former director of housing association De Alliantie introduced the term. He believed in both the humane and the economic side of the concept. Housing First proved not only to be good for the quality of life; the costs for society also turned out to be lower than if a client remained living on the street.

HVO Querido

The first team that put Housing First into practice for De Alliantie was called Discus, after the street the first office was located: Discusstraat. Arkin, the former Jellinek Mentrum, joined the team as a specialist in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and addiction. It was for practical reasons that the new organisation joined healthcare institution HVO Querido. After all, the work mostly consisted of social work, which is more in line with a healthcare institution than with a housing association. Treating patients was no longer a condition so Arkin subsequently left the project. However, the partnership with De Alliantie and Arkin has always remained, as has our team’s name: Discus.


Back in the day, employees stood on the corner of the street to address potential clients. “Are you looking for shelter? We’ve got a house for you!” People were literally taken from the street and put in a home shortly after. They paid rent directly to De Alliantie, When they were independent enough, the contract was put into their name. The house was theirs. Due to agreements with other social authorities, we do no longer has the freedom to hand out houses like that. There is even a waiting list. However, the mentality of the employees still exists.


When all homeless people with an mental illness have a roof over their head, the work of Housing First is complete. In that sense, we are by definition orchestrating our own demise. Even though it might only be possible in theory, it ultimately is our end goal.

Example:Party due to his mental illness, a client might be very noisy in his or her own home. Eviction is imminent. To prevent this, it is possible to provide the person with extra guidance for six hours a week. We will receive money to change our client’s behaviour. So this appears to be an appealing situation. However, it suits us better to see if there are other possibilities that are more out-of-the-box. Like contacting other agencies to see if there are housing available with soundproof walls (if we don’t have any). The residents might be willing to exchange.

This approach might be less beneficial for our wallet, it is however a big step towards solving a social problem. Knowing that we will exist until the last homeless person has a house provides us with the freedom to think way outside the box.


So… Putting Housing First into practice: check! The amount of people who get to keep their homes is enormous, and both client and employees are satisfied with the way of working. Society saves money for every client that receives a home through Discus. It’s a win/win situation.

our approach


The 80/20-principle is a useful tool to work goal oriented. The FUZZY-method shows that HVO-Querido occasionally works with targets that might seem out-of-the-box.

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Erasmus+ project

Erasmus +, the subsidy program of the European Commission, offers people of all ages the opportunity to share their knowledge and / or learn from (other) professionals from another country.

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The FUZZY methodology (Peter Makensteijn) works differently. Goals are set on the fly and thus a flexible mindset concerning the usage of time (and finances).

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Inspire by sharing

Inspire by sharing The centre of expertise is the place where everything comes together.

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It Can Also Be Different!

This may sound familiar... Someone asks you to come up with a solution for a certain problem.

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Restoring dreams to tackle loneliness

Did you know that more than 46% of Amsterdammers sometimes feel lonely and more than 13% even extremely lonely? During the K1 project (job shadowing), we did a study that showed some confrontational results.

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The profiles

We are all different. Even though our social workers work according to the principles of Housing First, they are not the same.

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