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Promising Results In New London Rapid Re-housing Test Program

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.

Program Implementation

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. 

Conclusion

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.

Download the full report.

Further Reading

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

Housing Innovations. (2012, November 19). Homelessness Resolution Strategy: Rochester and Monroe County Final Report. City of Rochester, N.Y. http://www.cityofrochester.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=8589956335

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

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Registration Open: Core Skills in Rapid Rehousing

Registration is now open for our Core Skills in Rapid Rehousing Trainings with Kay Moshier McDivitt of the National Alliance to End Homelessness
 
This series will focus on the essential elements of rapidly rehousing homeless families and individuals: housing first approaches, rapid rehousing models and best practices and case management skills.  Topics to be covered include:

  • an overview of the Housing First and rapid re-housing models, current best practices, and community examples;
  • developing strategic partnerships as part of rapid re-housing or other Housing First programs; 
  • service strategies, including housing location, landlord engagement, and home-based case management;
  • and critical factors for good program design and implementation, including data collection and outcomes.

This training is geared toward shelter providers, rapid rehousing case managers and other frontline staff in homeless services, as well as program managers and directors.  It is particularly well suited for programs looking to implement a housing first or rapid rehousing approach or for those looking to increase the skills of front line staff in these areas.
 
All trainings are 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.; registration begins at 8:30. Cost is $20 per person for CCEH members and $35 per person for nonmembers. Lunch is included.  The same training will be offered in 5 different locations across the state: 

Kay Moshier McDivitt is a Technical Assistance Specialist at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. In this role, she works with the Center for Capacity Building to help communities create, implement, and evaluate plans to end homelessness based on their specific needs. She is the Center’s point person on issues related to retooling transitional housing and the Performance Improvement Clinics, and assists in projects ranging from 10 year plan development to rapid re-housing planning. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2011, Kay served as the Community Homeless Advisor for the Lancaster County (PA) Coalition to End Homelessness, providing leadership for the County’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and Continuum of Care, and as Vice President for Programs for Tabor Community Services, Inc., where she oversaw a number of model program initiatives focused on ending homelessness including prevention and rapid rehousing approaches. She has provided community leadership in the homeless service arena since 1994 both at the local level and national level on best practice models for ending homelessness. She received her degrees in Social Work and Sociology from Eastern Mennonite University.

Questions about the training series may be directed to Kristen Granatek, Manager of Technical Assistance and Program Services, kgranatek@cceh.org
 

The Rapid Rehousing training is made possible by a generous grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation.

                                                                  

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A Message From HUD

To: The Connecticut Continuum of Care Community

From: Gary Reisine
Community Planning and Development Director
Hartford Field Office
 
I want to clarify the position of the Department regarding the assignment of priorities for Continuum of Care resources, as well as the use of waiting lists by CoC grantees.
 
1.    HUD now requires COC organizations to establish policies on a COC-wide basis that implement a coordinated assessment of applicants to homeless programs and providers.  Those policies must prioritize the use of Permanent Supportive Housing for the chronically homeless.  Individual providers within the COC must also have policies and procedures for providing service and accepting clients.  These policies must be consistent with those of the COC as a whole.
2.    Unless a COC is able to establish its own central application process and pool for all providers, the individual provider agencies will almost certainly need waiting lists.  We have previously emphasized the importance of waiting lists to our Connecticut constituents.  These remain a valuable tool, but should not be used to supersede priorities established by the COC.  The waiting list is one source of data that establishes fair priorities among people in the same class of need.  It can no longer be the only priority for PSH.
3.    To my knowledge, no Connecticut COC has completed its new assessment policies.  I’m sure there will be plenty of heated discussion in this process.  We stand ready to help and advise, but the decisions will be made by the COC.
4.    There may be instances where a COC priority is inconsistent with the mission or capabilities of a provider, or with the terms of its grant agreement with HUD.  A provider of housing for victims of domestic violence, for example, may not have the facilities to serve anyone outside its own client base.  Even if it could, it might be violating its grant agreement.  The COC must recognize these limitations.
 
“First come first served” can no longer be the guiding principal in all provision of housing for the homeless.  COC organizations not only may, but must, establish priorities that supersede this principal when targeting Permanent Supportive Housing.

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“Driving Towards Zero: Ingredients for Success in Ending Chronic Homelessness”

As part of this year’s IForum series, Partnership for Strong Communities is hosting “Driving Towards Zero: Ingredients for Success in Ending Chronic Homelessness” on March 18, 2014 from 9 a.m., to  11:30 a.m., at the Lyceum in Hartford (227 Lawrence St.).
 
Speakers from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, from the Rapid Results Institute, and stakeholders from our communities will gather to discuss ending chronic homelessness in Connecticut in the next four years.
 
This forum will explore how we ensure we reach the most vulnerable people, how communities have employed innovation to reduce chronic homelessness, which strategies have been successful, and what can be replicated. 
 
Please save the date in your calendar and plan on joining us if you are able. 
 
The event is free, but registration is required. Please RSVP to Laura Bachman at laura@pschousing.org.
 

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NEW DATE: Shelter in the HEARTH Era, A Special Event for Shelter Providers with Katharine Gale

NEW DATE & LOCATION:

11 A.M., TO 1:30 P.M., Monday April 7

Studio at Billings Forge
539 Broad Street
Hartford, CT

A note about parking: Overflow parking will be at the Lyceum, on the corner of Russ and Babcock streets.

Please join us for a discussion for CCEH members with Katharine Gale, former U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Policy Director and Independent Consultant on ending homelessness. 

The HEARTH Act directs communities to bring homeless programs — from emergency shelters to transitional housing programs and permanent supportive housing — together into a single system with Coordinated Access and a shared set of outcomes.  Our goals: to reduce the length of time anyone is homeless and to reduce both new entrants and returns to homelessness. In this discussion, we will draw on Katharine's considerable experience in the field and work in Washington to understand what this system change means, in terms of challenges and opportunities, for emergency shelters at the front end of our homelessness response systems.

This event is free for CCEH members; $25 for non-members and includes lunch.  Click here to register

Questions about the event may be directed to Katie Kenney, Project Assistant, kkenney@cceh.org
 

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