This report provides an extensive discussion of the RHISCO (Rural Homeless Initiative of Southeast and Central Ohio) Project, the issue of rural homelessness, and the nature of the participating counties, and also highlights the cross cutting findings, promising practices, and challenges and opportunities that emerged from the RHISCO Project. This report is a useful tool for all rural communities looking to develop ten year plans to end homelessness and working to advance better approaches to address the issue. In New Jersey we have counties with smaller populations for which this study may provide assistance in how to develop effective strategies to end homelessness.
According to Nan Roman the president of the NAEH “Although homelessness is typically associated with large urban centers, sadly it is a problem that plagues small towns and rural communities as well. Rural homelessness, though also driven by the lack of affordable housing and inadequate service infrastructures, is less understood than its urban counterpart and presents a unique set of challenges. Two years ago the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations joined together to explore the nature of homelessness, and its solutions, in seventeen counties in rural Ohio. The goal of the partnership, called RHISCO (Rural Homeless Initiative of Southeast and Central Ohio), was twofold: to help the counties create plans to end homelessness, and to deepen our own understanding of solutions to the problem.
As this report will show, both of these goals have been met. The seventeen counties in the RHISCO region, by developing ten year plans, bringing new stakeholders to the table, and collaborating with neighboring communities, are better equipped to end homelessness in Southeast and Central Ohio. And the RHISCO Project is serving as a national model, leading to new insights about the nature of and solutions to rural homelessness. The impact of the RHISCO Project has already begun to extend far beyond Southeast and Central Ohio.”