The pathways housing first fidelity scale for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

  • Stefancic A
  • Tsemberis S
  • Messeri P
 et al. 
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Pathways Housing First (PHF) is an innovative, evidence-based model of pro-viding permanent housing and services to adults with severe mental illness. This approach has been widely and rapidly disseminated across the U.S. and internationally, but sometimes with considerable variability from the original PHF model. This study developed and validated a PHF fidelity scale. The PHF model's guiding principles and prospective ingredients were ident-ified through reviews of PHF literature and relevant fidelity scales, interviews with PHF administrators, and a survey administered to HF providers. An expert panel developed the items into a fidelity scale, which was field-tested as part of two large-scale research initiatives in California and Canada. Gen-eral guiding principles for PHF included (a) eliminating barriers to housing access and retention, (b) fostering a sense of home, (c) facilitating community integration and minimizing stigma, (d) utilizing a harm-reduction approach, and (e) adhering to consumer choice and providing individualized consumer-driven services that promote recovery. The provider survey demonstrated that 32 key ingredients, derived from these principles, had good face and content validity. An expert panel refined the wording of these ingre-dients, added new items when there was consensus, and developed oper-ational criteria to measure them. The resulting 38-item fidelity scale generally had good internal consistency; it captured variability in program implementation; it demonstrated discriminant validity; and it was useful in guiding program implementation and technical assistance. In conjunction with other program materials, the fidelity scale can be used as a guide for pro-gram development and technical assistance and as a research tool. Examining how these key ingredients relate to the model's success will contribute to a broader understanding of how to end homelessness and facilitate recovery.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fidelity
  • Homelessness
  • Housing first
  • Mental illness
  • Supportive housing

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