To advance rapid re-housing, we need more data

written by Sam Batko
November 7, 2016

The Alliance has released the five key strategies for advancing rapid re-housing. Those strategies are: Build the Evidence, Adopt Standards of Excellence and Practice, Make Rapid Re-Housing Part of Your System, Expand the Role of Partners and Acquire New Resources. This blog discusses the first key strategy, Build the Evidence.


We need more data to advance rapid re-housing

We know rapid re-housing works to end homelessness for individuals and families, but we need to know more about the systems-level impacts of rapid re-housing.

Data on rapid re-housing collected so far shows that the intervention gets people into housing quickly and keeps them housed. But could we house people even quicker? Could we make sure even more people stay housed? We can’t answer these questions without gathering data that shows what worked and what didn’t in individual communities.

What we know...

Let’s start with what we know – rapid re-housing works. As one provider said, “All my clients ever wanted was to get back into their own housing as soon as possible.” Rapid re-housing can do that.

The research on rapid re-housing conducted so far tells us:

  • Rapid re-housing moves people out of shelter quickly.
  • People who participate in rapid re-housing have a low rate of return to shelter.
  • Rapid re-housing costs less than other interventions.

While this data is important, what we really need to know is whether or not rapid re-housing can end homelessness. Does it decrease the number of people who are homeless? Does it decrease the length of time that people spend homeless?

...And what we're missing

If we are to understand if rapid re-housing can end homelessness we need to build the evidence. Specifically, that means collecting and monitoring local data so researchers can compile the outcomes from across the country and learn more about how what their impacts. This includes:

  • How many families and individuals exit rapid re-housing to permanent housing?
  • What is the average length of stay for households? Has this decreased since increasing rapid re-housing capacity?
  • How many of the households who have exited rapid re-housing have returned to homelessness?
  • How is rapid re-housing funded in your community?

Share your data

We need to collect more data from individual communities, and we need your help getting it. Share your community’s data by filling out the survey and help us understand community-level impacts of rapid re-housing. Your participation will help us expand what we know about the impact rapid re-housing is having on homelessness and ultimately enable us to advance the practice.

Take the survey