"Calling it Housing First is really a misnomer," Couture said. "It's really providing a space that the homeless need, but with proper accompaniment."
A closer look at the Utah models, for example, shows that the reason Housing First was so successful is because it was carried out with close accompaniment by social workers and other outreach providers who stayed close to their clients throughout their transition into housing, which can be a difficult thing for those who are used to living on the streets, Couture said.
"Once they're inside, if they're just left alone there, it becomes more like a prison," Couture said. "It may seem strange, but when you're outside you have people who care for you, who love you...some sort of community. When you're inside, your friends are out there... so you feel trapped," and many people leave if they don't have the proper continuing support.
"So from what I see of Housing First...it's yielding great fruit, but it shouldn't be confused with housing only, that's not the same thing," he said.
Sullivan said that her experiences as a missionary and as an outreach worker have taught her "the importance of relationship and acknowledging the dignity of the human person, that's been at the forefront of both," she said.
As a missionary, she learned a lot about "the spiritual poverty and the woundedness that people experience, spending that time in relationship with people, getting to the heart of the person," she said.
But being an outreach worker, and attempting to connect her homeless clients with resources, has opened her eyes in a new way "to the system in which people have to operate, and it's really a lot more complicated than an individual and their problems," she said.
Sullivan said she would encourage Catholics to remember the human dignity and the personhood of the homeless community when they are voting on laws that impact them.
"It's really willing the good of the people on the margins, and I've see how a lot of these things that intended to be helpful aren't actually for the good of the people in these situations, they just continue to make their lives more miserable," she said.
Often, when it comes to these policies, there is a misperception that some people want everything to be a "free-for-all", and others want to punish the homeless because they believe poor decisions led them to a life on the street, Sullivan said.
"In reality, it's a much more complicated, nuanced thing," she said. "Try to find the reasonable middle ground."
Catholics should also understand that homelessness will never be completely solved with politics, Couture said.
"The homeless situation is as complex as the human person, and any attempt at a one-dimensional answer is simply inadequate," he said.
"I think any person who [wants to help] needs to move forward with the tranquility and trust in God, and throw out the naivety that this one solution will fix everything, this will do it all, and understand that this is a multi-faceted issue that requires many answers," he said.
To better understand the homeless and their needs, Catholics need to encounter them face to face as friends, Couture said.
"Whatever we vote for, we should have an understanding that it's not going to be enough to fix the homeless situation in and of itself, and what that implies is action on our part," he added.
"Whatever we vote for, we also need to recognize that we have to act, to befriend the homeless - obviously while being safe and having common sense - but with a willingness to put some skin in the game personally, to truly encounter the homeless."