Transitional Housing Provider Converts to Rapid Re-Housing, Wins ‘Innovative Practices’ Award

written by Kay Moshier McDivitt
March 19, 2014

It takes an innovative spirit for an organization to shift its vision and resources from a long-standing practice. This is especially true when an organization closes a well-respected family transitional housing facility to begin a “rapid re-housing only” program. That’s exactly what St. Joseph’s Villa of Richmond, Virginia did when it discontinued the residential component of its Flagler Home in order to implement rapid re-housing. The innovative spirit it took to make the conversion happen resulted in St. Joseph’s Villa receiving the Council on Accreditation (COA)’s Innovative Practices Award

Founded in 1989 as shelter for homeless mothers and children on the campus of St. Joseph’s Villa, Flagler Home built a reputation among community stakeholders as a best practice model for transitional housing. Nevertheless, on June 30, 2013, St. Joseph’s Villa shifted resources from Flagler Homes’ residential services to a community-wide rapid re-housing program. The transition has resulted in better outcomes for the families Flagler Home serves.

St. Joseph’s Villa submitted a case study describing their decision to convert their program to a rapid rehousing program to the COA, which recognizes organizations that meet “the needs of a service population” by “implementing distinctive methods for improving organizational capacity.” St. Joseph’s Villa was the only honoree across the nation to receive this award in the category of Performance & Quality Improvement.

During the Re-Tooling Transitional Housing Workshop at the Alliance’s recent National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness in New Orleans, Kimberly Tucker, director of Housing and Homeless Services for St. Joseph’s Villa, shared the process St. Joseph’s Villa undertook to implement their new program model.

The decision to change the Flagler Home entirely to a rapid re-housing program was a three-year process that started with piloting a small rapid re-housing program in 2010 and culminated in setting a new course for the organization. During that process, they reinvented the program’s entire direction, policies and procedures. Job descriptions were re-written, and all revenue sources and expenditures were realigned to meet the new model.

Retooling transitional housing to rapid re-housing is hard work, and it took determined leadership for St. Joseph’s Villa to make this innovation happen. Under Kimberly’s leadership, St. Joseph’s Villa administration and board had the foresight, tenacity, willingness and spirit to be a true innovator, and a most worthy recipient of the COA Innovative Practices Award. Congratulations St. Joseph’s Villa board and staff for your vision and innovative spirit!