Housing First housing models and projects are typically differentiated by the clustering (Congregate) or separation (scatter-site) of dwellings. Congregate and scatter-site housing first models utilise existing housing stock or dwellings may be purpose built.
Congregate Housing First models refer to the provision of permanent, low-barrier supportive housing for people exiting homelessness within a single, often high-density building. These models tend to offer clients a range of support and community services either on-site or within close proximity to the residence. This approach to Housing First can offer a sense of community and belonging while also reducing transit time for support providers. There are some debates regarding the use of a congregate model, which bring into focus the extent to which social integration is possible when Housing First clients live collectively within a single building.
Conversely, scatter-site housing models, offer clients a choice of housing types dispersed throughout the community. The approach has been used widely across various international contexts, and typically utilises existing social or private market rental units often combined with a rental subsidy support scheme. This approach is tied to evidence demonstrating that many people exiting homelessness aspire to live in lower-density housing in a neighbourhood that meets their needs while fostering community integration.