545 Families in Virginia Now Have Homes

written by Kay Moshier McDivitt
February 4, 2014

Back in October I blogged about the exciting start of the 100 Day Rapid Re-Housing Challenge in Virginia. As part of the challenge, 31 organizations across Virginia vowed to move as many families as possible from homelessness to homes over the course of 100 days. January 24 marked the end of the challenge. Today I am excited to announce that 545 families have moved into homes in just 100 days as a result of these organizations rising to the “Challenge.”

The Rapid Re-Housing Challenge is the culmination of the Virginia Learning Collaborative initiative. Its goal was to reduce family homelessness by building capacity in rapid re-housing programs.

Throughout the Challenge, we sent weekly communications to the teams encouraging them to be bold, focus on quickly moving families home, and share their innovations and ideas with each other. The staffs of these organizations rose to the Challenge. They tweeted at each other and to the public using the hashtag #housingchallenge and exchanged advice over email. They got pumped up by doing the happy dance, “woot-wooting,” singing “We Are the Champions,” and by awarding Michael Jackson “Thriller of the Week” awards to staff for each family re-housed.

Organizations implemented new strategies, increased capacity, recruited new landlords, and leveraged new sources of revenue in order to house as many families as possible. The 545 families they housed represent a 52 percent increase in the rate of re-housing among these organizations compared to rates before the challenge.

Rapid re-housing is hard work! While we have crossed the finish line, the Challenge is not really over. Housing stabilization services for the families re-housed during the Challenge will continue, and newly homeless families entering shelters will need to be rapidly re-housed. The lessons learned through the Learning Collaborative initiative will allow the organizations to continue to build on this important accomplishment.

There is something about a Challenge that brings out the best in all of us. The real winners in all of this are the 545 families who moved home as a result of the challenge. Well done Virginia! Woot-Woot!