On July 7, 2015, NPR reported the story, “For Homeless Families, Quick Exit from Shelters is Only a Temporary Fix.” As part of the 2009 Economic Recovery Act, Congress approved about $1.5 billion for the rapid rehousing program, making it a key tool for reducing family homelessness. Rapid rehousing provides a temporary housing subsidy that quickly moves homeless families out of shelters and into housing.
“More than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of a program known as rapid rehousing, which quickly moves families out of shelters and into homes.”
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s new Family Options study ”Finds that for many families, rapid rehousing is only a temporary fix.”
The solution for Jordan McClellan, the woman and Washington DC resident highlighted in the story, is simple – she got a permanent housing voucher.
“In Jordan McClellan’s case, things are looking up. She has just landed what almost everyone, including HUD, agrees is the best way to help homeless families. She has received a permanent housing voucher and in March was able to use it to get a new apartment. She has to pay up to 30% of her income in rent, but there’s no time limit, so she finally has some stability.”
“’You know it’s a sense of security, like OK, I have a roof over my head, now I can focus on everything else,’ McClellan says. ‘Now I can focus on getting a job and, you know, moving forward in life.’”
McClellan’s story is in the end a “success story” because of the federal Housing Choice Voucher program.
“But the waiting lists for such vouchers are years, even decades long, in communities across the country. And no one expects Congress to fund more anytime soon, which is another reason rapid rehousing, and how it works, are getting a closer look.”