The evaluation, conducted by Abt Associates Inc., found that families enrolled who participated in rapid re-housing had a low likelihood of returning to homelessness within 12 months of exiting the program but experienced a high degree of residential mobility during the same period.
The evaluation found:
Only 10% of families in the study had returned to homelessness in the 12 months following the conclusion of RRHD rental assistance.
76% of families moved at least once in the 12 months after exiting the program, with only 24% remaining in the unit where they received RRHD rental assistance.
Those families who did return to homelessness were more likely to be headed by young parents between the ages of 18-24. Families with incomes at or above 30% of the area median income at time of program intake were less likely to return to homelessness, cash income at the conclusion of rental assistance had no detectable effect.
The evaluation provides evidence that rapid re-housing can be effective in preventing a return to homelessness but not in ensuring housing stability.
Rapid re-housing is a Housing First approach designed to help homeless families quickly exit emergency shelters with a combination of housing search assistance and a short-term rental subsidy (usually less than 18 months). Other services focus on preparing the family for the conclusion of rental assistance. The model was developed by local service providers and expanded nationally through RRHD funding in 2009.