Rapid Re-Housing is a promising approach to end certain cases of homelessness. Rapid Re-Housing provides targeted financial assistance and short-term services to individuals and families in emergency shelters who need temporary assistance to secure and retain housing. Rapid Re-Housing does not meet the needs of every person who experiences homelessness, but is an important option for many who have relatively low barriers to independent housing.
In this CT Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) Brief, we report on the experience of New London Homeless Hospitality Center’s implementation of Rapid Re-Housing at a scale substantial enough to have several important and positive effects on clients and the shelter. Through this pilot, NLHHC:
- Re-housed relatively large numbers of shelter clients over a short period of time;
- Shortened average length of time clients were homeless in this shelter; and
- Reduced shelter census substantially over the period of at-scale implementation.
Rapid Re-Housing freed up shelter beds, reduced shelter overcrowding, freed staff time to provide more intensive service for those with greater needs, and allowed those rehoused to escape homelessness more quickly.
New London Homeless Hospitality
New London Homeless Hospitality Center (NLHHC) is the largest shelter for single adults in New London County, which accounts for approximately 10% of Connecticut’s homeless population. In February 2012, NLHCC accessed special funding through the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) and the New London County Fund to End Homelessness that allowed for a pilot Rapid Re-Housing program based on national best practices.
NLHHC targeted for rapid re-housing all shelter clients with income who did not have long-term disabling conditions and/or the history of chronic homelessness that would indicate a need for more intensive resources, such as permanent supportive housing.
Shelter staff engaged clients in planning for re-housing as soon as possible after entry to shelter. A dedicated housing coordinator identified housing options and advocated for clients with landlords. Financial assistance was provided to alleviate the need for long shelter stays that typically occur while very low-income individuals try to save enough money to cover the security deposit and fist month’s rent required by most landlords. Average total financial assistance per client was just under $1,000. NLHHC made available follow-up case management to those who sought such assistance, but did not require follow-up services.
Program Outputs and Outcomes
Number served: Over a five-month period, New London Homeless Hospitality Center re-housed fifty-three (53) individuals who had been homeless and in shelter.
Shelter Census: Before the Rapid Re-Housing initiative was initiated, the July 2012 nightly shelter census was almost 25% higher than the year before. During the period of rapid rehousing program implementation, the nightly shelter census was reduced well below the average nightly census for the same period in the previous year without any other changes in shelter admissions policy. With rapid re-housing, the shelter was able to meet the annual increase in winter shelter demand without being forced to open overflow beds.
Length of Stay: Length of stay for single adults decreased compared to the previous non-program year. As Figure 2 shows, during implementation of the program, the number of those who remained homeless and in shelter more than 60 days dropped by more than 10 percentage points, while the number of those sheltered less than 30 days increased by more than 10 percentage points.
Did those re-housed stay housed?
Consistent with national data and Connecticut’s previous experience with Rapid Re-Housing, (Where Are They Now? Three Years Later, Did Rapid Re-Housing Work in Connecticut? CCEH Brief, October 2013), the great majority of clients re-housed through the NLHHC intensive RRH pilot (more than 70%) had not returned to homelessness approximately one year after re-housing.
The Reverend Cathy Zall, Executive Director of NLHHC, said that for participants in the program, “We know that housing is the answer to homelessness. Rapid Re-Housing allows guests with income to get back into housing much more quickly. This in turn means a greater ability to maintain employment, improved health, and a higher quality of life.”
For the shelter, Rapid Re-Housing reduces shelter length of stay, freeing up beds for others in need. An additional benefit of the program: by helping those who could exit homelessness through Rapid Re-Housing to do so as quickly as possible, NLHHC was able to free up case management resources to help those who needed more intensive assistance and support.
Anderson, Lindsay. (2013). Ending Family Homelessness. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/4.1-integrating-rapid-Re-housing-and-employment-strategies-for-families
Batko, Samantha. (2013, May 21). Data Points: Rapid Re-Housing Works. National Alliance to End Homelessness. http://www.endhomelessness.org/blog/entry/data-points-rapid-re-housing-works#.UgaVk2RgaRk
Burden, Jamey. (2013). Basics of Rapid Re-Housing. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/1.1-basics-of-rapid-Re-housing
Byrne, Thomas. (2013). The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing: Housing Outcomes of Veterans Exiting the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Program. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/2.1-emerging-research-on-rapid-rehousing
Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. (October 2013). Where Are They Now? Three Years Later, Did Rapid Re-Housing Work in Connecticut? http://www.cceh.org/publications/detail/three-years-later-did-rapid-re-housing-work-in-connecticut
Cotter, Meghann. (2013). Micah Ecumenical Ministries: Housing the ‘Un-Houseable: Using Relationship-Based Service Models to Rapidly Re-Housing Single Adults. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/5.1-rapid-rehousing-models-for-single-adults
Fetzer-Rice, Beth. (2013). Basics of Rapid Re-Housing. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/1.1-basics-of-rapid-Re-housing
Foster, Sage B. (2010) Rapid Re-Housing Program, HPRP Innovative Strategies for Housing Single Adults. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 12-14, 2010, Washington, D.C. http://fr.slideshare.net/naehomelessness/53-rapid-rehousing-for-single-adults-foster
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Rodriguez, Jason. (2013). Georgia Department of Community Affairs: Rapid Re-Housing and Homelessness Recurrence in Georgia. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/2.1-emerging-research-on-rapid-rehousing
Taylor, Jamie Vanasse & Pratt-Roebuck, Katrina. (2013). Cloudburst Consulting Group & Office of Supportive Housing and the City of Philadelphia: Evaluating Philadelphia’s Rapid Re-Housing Impacts on Housing Stability and Income. National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference: July 22-24, 2013, Washington, D.C. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/2.1-emerging-research-on-rapid-rehousing
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2013, May 6). Building the Bridge to the Future: Lessons Learned from HPRP. YouTube HUD Channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzTFg5iuOyc