The HOST Model

Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST) is an effort to test strategies that use housing as a platform for services to improve the life chances of vulnerable youth and adults.

The demonstration project grew out of Urban Institute research on government-driven attempts to help improve the lives of families living in the most distressed public housing in the United States. These attempts have typically focused on dismantling dangerous, unsafe housing, replacing it with new, mixed-income housing, and relocating many residents with vouchers. But when moving is not an option, what happens to families left in place? Are physical housing upgrades enough to address the risks associated with concentrated poverty?

Our research shows that troubles related to economic hardship, underemployment, low education, fear, violence, substance abuse, inequality, and discrimination still challenge families even when their housing quality and safety improves. The critical question then becomes: beyond improving families' living conditions, can a housing-based intervention significantly change the socio-economic trajectory for families and communities?

HOST is designed to address this core question, exploring the potential of using housing as a platform for a two-generation, intensive, and carefully targeted intervention to effect fundamental change.