Addressing Family Homelessness through Rapid Re- housing

Prevalence of Homelessness/Housing Instablity Among Families
• 222,000 persons in families (including over 130,000 children) are homeless on any given night, 31,000 in an unsheltered location. • 175,000 families (including 340,000 children) stay in a homeless service program each year. • 1.166 million school age children identified as meeting Dept. of Ed. Definition of homeless (includes children in doubled up housing, shelter/unsheltered locations each year. • 3.24 million families with children with “worst case housing needs. • 7.4 million low income people in doubled up housing.

Characteristics/Compared to Other Poor Families
• Predominately single-parent households. • A significant proportion of families are headed by a young parent (under 25) • Slightly over half of children are 5 or under - prevalence higher the younger the child. Pregnancy is also a risk factor for homelessness among low income families. • Families are very poor (typically under 50% of poverty level) • African-American households are disproportionately represented. • Children viewed by researchers as being at far end of a continuum of risk.

Homeless Services Transforming Quickly
• Traditionally – offered a temporary place for families to stay until they got resources together to move back into housing and overcome housing barriers.
– Approximately 20-25% families spend a year or longer in long-term transitional programs.

• Today/Near Future – focused on providing families the support they need to move quickly out of shelter and back into housing in community with rapid re-housing.

Rapid Re- housing
• Rapid Re-housing is a strategy designed to help individuals and families move quickly back into housing in the community through the provision of: – Housing Identification (such as housing search/landlord negotiation assistance) – Help paying for rent (Financial assistance/move-in) – Rapid Re-housing services (such as case management support/service linkages including income and employment services/support)

Benefits of Rapid Re- housing • Better economic investment: more families served • Families less likely to become homeless again • Number of homeless families declines • Number of families in their own home within a month increases

Outcomes: Rapid Re- housing

Outcomes: Rapid Re- housing

Other Examples of Success
• Mercer County (Trenton), NJ: Daily census in shelter/transitional housing declined by 62% between 2007 and 2013. • Salt Lake City: Reduced average family homeless episode by more than 50% - from 71 days to 26 days. • Las Vegas: Has almost eradicated unsheltered homeless episodes for persons in families.


Sharon McDonald National Alliance to End Homelessness (202) 942-8253

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