Rapid Re-housing for Families Briefing

written by Sharon McDonald
May 16, 2012

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On Thursday, the Alliance will host a Congressional Briefing, “Rapid Re-Housing: Ending Family Homelessness.”  The briefing, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, will provide a glimpse in to how rapid re-housing is revolutionizing how we are responding to family homelessness.

Homeless program administrators across the country provided an enthusiastic (shall we say overwhelming?) response to the Alliance’s request for data to help inform the audience about the impact that rapid re-housing is having.  The compelling data the Alliance received is showing the successes communities are having helping families move out of homelessness with rapid re-housing.  A small sample is included below:

  • Alabama rapidly re-housed 431 persons in homeless families through HPRP grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs with a median of 4 months of assistance. Over 80 percent of families assisted with three months of assistance or more exited homelessness for a permanent destination, as did virtually all families provided with less than three months of assistance.
  • Bakersfield and Kern County, California rapidly re-housed over 500 families. The new HPRP-funded prevention and rapid re-housing resources contributed to a 12 percent reduction in family homelessness between 2009 and 2011 despite a persistent double digit unemployment rate.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida has rapidly re-housed 154 homeless families.  Nearly all (96 percent) of the households were re-housed directly from an emergency shelter or domestic violence program and most (69 percent) were re-housed within 30 days of entering shelter.
  • New York City, New York rapidly rehoused 16,500 families with locally-funded housing subsidies and services supported by HPRP.  More than 90 percent of families assisted with rapid re-housing have not re-entered shelter.
  • Rochester, New York has re-housed 286 families with children with HPRP funds.  Twelve months after receiving assistance, 60 percent remain stable in the same housing unit they moved into and less than 5 percent have returned to homelessness.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rapidly re-housed 648 homeless families.  Only 11 households (1.7 percent) have had a subsequent homeless episode.
  • Snohomish County, Washington provided rapid re-housing to 107 homeless families with an average of $1,411 in rental assistance.  Less than 2 percent of families assisted have had a subsequent homeless episode.

It is clear that rapid re-housing is making a difference for families.  It is succeeding.  It is important that proven, cost-effective strategies that end homelessness like rapid re-housing continue to be supported.  The Alliance hopes that you will ask your congressional representatives to join us for the briefing at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 17.  We also ask that you join us in urging Congress to provide at least $2.231 billion for the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program in FY 2013 so that rapid re-housing programs can continue to serve families