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Data Points: Emerging Research on Rapid Re-Housing
August 13, 2013
The Alliance’s National Conference has come and gone, but the learning opportunities live on. Today I was reflecting on the workshop sessions I planned and thought I’d pull out one of my favorites for all of you: Emerging Research on Rapid Re-Housing.
Some of the questions I get asked most frequently are: “why should be we be focused on rapid re-housing?” or “how do we even know rapid re-housing works?”
Rapid re-housing has been around for a while now, but it takes time to measure outcomes, especially outcomes with regards to returns to homelessness. This was the first year that we had enough research on rapid re-housing to dedicate an entire workshop to it. And, what the researchers found is very promising:
- Katrina Roebuck and Jamie Taylor from Philadelphia found that only 13.6 percent of households who were rapidly re-housed returned to homelessness, while 39 percent of a statistically identical comparison group that received usual homeless services (no rapid re-housing) returned to homelessness.
- Jason Rodriguez from the State of Georgia found that households who did not receive rapid re-housing were more than twice as likely to return to homelessness than those households who were rapidly re-housed.
- Tom Byrne from the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans found that, nationally, only about 10 percent of families and 16 percent of individuals served with SSVF became homeless again.
One of the aspects of this research that I find especially helpful is the comparative nature of it. Roebuck, Rodriguez, and Byrne examined rapid re-housing in comparison to the other current intervention possibilities.
Did rapid re-housing solve every single aspect of homelessness for every single household? No. But, it did solve homelessness for the vast majority of households and did so significantly better than any other current intervention.
And, Tom’s work shows us that the recidivism rates seen in the other two presentations are not only happening in certain communities, but is a nationwide trend.
Rapid re-housing appears to be an effective intervention with low returns to homelessness for the vast majority of households. Now we need to evaluate whether duration of assistance, depth of assistance, accompanying in home services, and other aspects of individual programs make a difference.