Minimal barrier or low barrier housing involves placing a minimum number of expectations on people who are accommodated in housing, or most often, a shelter. By having few barriers, individuals are able to access more services. It also gives non-judgmental support to individuals who are already marginalized, enabling Lookout staff to assist the individual to identify and plan their own goals, starting with small achievable first steps that rebuild their confidence.
This minimal barrier approach ensures people make positive choices on their own rather than forcing their compliance. The Lookout Society believes a minimal barrier approach is necessary because many of our clients already face challenges beyond abject poverty, such as addiction, mental, emotional and physical illness, financial hardships, social skills, etc. Placing barriers to restrict access to shelters or housing further restricts people from using much-needed services.
Pet friendly is people friendly
The Lookout Society takes the minimal barrier philosophy a step further with a pet-friendly policy that allows clients/tenants to bring their pets into shelters and housing, rather than force people to give them up. This is important because for many homeless individuals a pet can be their best friend. It is not uncommon for individuals to remain on the street if their pet can not accompany them into housing.