Fidelity Findings from the Arrels Housing First Programme

Arrels Foundation is one of the oldest homeless service organisations in Barcelona, and is one of the main promoters of Housing First in Catalonia. The programme was launched in 2015 and one year later, Arrels Foundation evaluated programme fidelity for the first time using the selfassessment approach (Stefancic et al., 2013) and one-to-one structured interviews with key stakeholders. Nine staff members participated in the first phase and eleven took part in the qualitative phase.

Results indicated higher fidelity scores in the Separation of Housing and Services domain and lower scores in the Service Array domain. Barriers to fidelity were identified in the domains of Services Provision, Team Structure, Housing Processes and Structure. These barriers appeared to be linked to systemic challenges of a difficult housing market, small public sector housing supply, and cultural resistance to the model.

Facilitators of fidelity included the quality of public health and mental health services; organisational commitment to the consumer-led, recovery-oriented HF philosophy; and the stability and long-term dedication of Arrels Foundation’s workers and volunteers. Analysis also underlined the benefits of local adaptations for programme fidelity. These findings provide context and perspective for comparison with other Housing First implementations and demonstrate how the programme is sufficient, sustainable, and effective in improving quality of life for adults with histories of homelessness and complex support needs.

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