Rapid Re-Housing’s Crucial Role in Ending Homelessness

Rapid Re-housing Allows Families to Quickly Leave Homeless Shelters and Find Stable Housing

The Urban Institute has released a new report titled “Rapid Re-housing’s Role in Responding to Homelessness.” This report reviews literature on the effectiveness of rapid re-housing.

A short-term, crisis-response program, rapid re-housing has proven to be a low-cost intervention that allows homeless families to quickly leave homeless shelters and find stable housing.

Rapid re-housing provides:

  • housing search services,
  • rent and move-in assistance, and
  • case management services to help people exit homelessness and find long-term housing.

The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Family Options Study, the most rigorous study of housing inventions for homeless families to-date, shows that families randomly assigned to rapid re-housing exited shelters more quickly than families assigned to their community’s usual care (2.9 months versus 3.1 months).

  • A study of the rapid re-housing program by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) found that monthly income increased for participants by almost $100 between program entry and program exit.
  • Studies have also found that 70% of rapid re-housing program participants successfully find permanent housing prior to their program exit.
  • Lastly, an important feature of the program is its lower cost than other interventions.
  • The Family Options Study found the average monthly cost of rapid re-housing was $880, significantly lower than transitional housing ($2,706) or emergency shelter ($4,819).

The report’s authors write about what we still need to know about rapid re-housing, “Moving forward, communities will need assistance developing data tools so that their use goes beyond mere reporting to HUD. Communities should use these data for managing the performance of their systems. Policymakers should also consider funding an evaluation of the impact of rapid re- housing on the system-level outcomes noted above that includes jurisdictions with varying housing market conditions.”

The nonprofit Urban Institute is a leading research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities. For 50 years, Urban has been the trusted source for rigorous analysis of complex social and economic issues; strategic advice to policymakers, philanthropists, and practitioners; and new, promising ideas that expand opportunities for all. Their work inspires effective decisions that advance fairness and enhance the well-being of people and places.

Rapid Re-housing’s Role in Responding to Homelessness

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