Rapid re-housing is an evidence-based approach to end homelessness as quickly as possible for families and individuals. It centers on a school of thought called “Housing First,” the idea that people are much more likely to find success when they are no longer in a stressful crisis situation; rather than wait for people who have become homeless to be “housing ready,” shelters help them into housing first, and then connect them with any additional services they might need. This intervention has low barriers to entry, high placement rates, and low rates of return to shelter.
Rapid re-housing acts as a trampoline, using targeted financial assistance and short-term services to quickly return individuals and families who have slipped into homelessness back into housing and stability. For shelters, using rapid re-housing to “exit” families and individuals into stable housing situations frees up shelter beds, reduces shelter overcrowding, and frees staff time to provide more intensive services for those with greater needs.
In Connecticut, many rapid re-housing providers access assistance funds from the Connecticut Rapid Re-housing Program, a program created by the Department of Housing after the success of the 2010 Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP). However, shelters across the state are increasingly finding other avenues of funding in order to quickly move families and individuals into their own housing.
Report Available: An Evaluation of the Connecticut Rapid Re-housing Program
History and Research
In 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) allowed providers in Connecticut to greatly expand rapid re-housing services. Under HPRP, and in three years, CT providers re-housed 3,100 people in over 1,600 households. In 2013, we looked back on this data to consider the questions:
Were these resources well spent? Did those people return to shelter?
We found that:
Three years after receiving rapid re-housing, eighty-two percent (82%) of singles and 95% of Families have not returned to a Connecticut shelter.
At the two year post-exit mark, almost 90% of singles and 94% of families had not returned to shelter.
In 2013, New London Homeless Hospitality Center implemented rapid re-housing at a scale substantial enough to have several important and positive effects on clients and the shelter. Through this pilot, NLHHC:
- Re-housed relatively large numbers of shelter clients over a short period of time;
- Shortened average length of time clients were homeless in this shelter; and
- Reduced shelter census substantially over the period of at-scale implementation.
For more history on rapid re-housing, read the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s Rapid Re-Housing: A History and Core Components
Working with Landlords
In any fiscal climate, building and maintaining relationships with landlords is one of the most important components of housing clients. In Connecticut especially, the scarcity of affordable rent means case managers and housing specialists must work extra hard to identify housing for their clients. Building good relationships with landlords can ease the burden of identifying new affordable units. Click here for Resources on Landlord Recruitment and Retention
Accessing DSS Benefits
Access to DSS Benefits can greatly improve a family or individual’s ability to retain stable housing beyond enrollment in a rapid re-housing program. Accessing benefits can be tricky for both case workers and clients. Based off a training by Greater Hartford Legal Aid, CCEH has compiled resources to support case workers in connecting their clients to these vital benefits. Click here for Resources on Accessing DSS Benefits.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness webinar on how two successful programs – Homefull in Dayton, OH, and Friendship Place, in Washington, DC – are able to successfully rapidly re-house households with no income.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness’ guide to the history, main components, and best practices of rapid re-housing as a part of the Housing First approach.
The Connecticut Rapid Re-Housing Program (CT RRH) is designed to assist homeless households as they quickly move out of homelessness and into permanent housing through the provision of time-limited housing support and strategies with the ultimate goal of stable housing. This is the manual of policies and procedures from the CT RRH.
This presentation on rapid re-housing explores best practices from a local perspective in terms of its role in the crisis response system, an overview of the pilot from New London, Connecticut, and practices such as staffing approaches and housing location support.
This outline from the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s Rapid Re-Housing Works campaign, we talked about the five key strategies for advancing rapid re-housing that were discussed at our recent Rapid Re-Housing Leadership Summit. But what are these strategies, and why do they matter.
The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness report on a case study of rapid re-housing in New London, Connecticut in partnership with the New London Homeless Hospitality Center (NLHHC). This report contains information about how the program was implemented as well as the results.
This presentation goes over the principals of Housing First and rapid re-housing as well as the strategic planing and 2014 goals of HUD and USICH.
This presentation by the National Alliance to End Homelessness goes over some of the strategies behind core components of rapid re-housing, such as rental subsidies, case management, and barrier assessment.
This one pager by the National Alliance to End Homelessness is a simplified overview of rapid re-housing gives an overview of the program’s key components and design.
This presentation by Paul Duncan explains the how a CTI informed approach can be used to structure or improve Rapid Re-housing programs and overcome challenges along the way.