Rapid Re-Housing & Housing First for Families
In response to increasing requests for assistance in interpreting and implementing “housing first” strategies for families with children within the Rapid Re-Housing framework, we offer both consulting and training.
|Please contact us if you would like to schedule a conference call to discuss any of the issues above and ways that we might provide assistance or training to staff.|
Children in Housing First/Rapid Re-Housing:
Unlike “housing first” for the chronically homeless – individualized and time-limited services are provided before, during, and after the homeless family has been assisted in relocating to rental housing with a lease of their own.There is no such thing as “housing readiness.” Homeless families regain stable living patterns (or gain them for the first time) from a stable housing base.
Organizations are increasingly concerned about when or even if some homeless families should receive rapid re-housing services. While this concern may have some validity, it goes completely against the premise of “housing first.” However, there is no room for debate in the “housing first” approach when children are at risk. These situations mandate and require “common sense.” A child must never remain in an endangering situation without ongoing and vigilant monitoring and support. If a child(ren) is with a parent or caregiver who is unable to care for the child(ren) safely at the time or long-term, it is vital to consider an alternate plan. In other words, each situation must be evaluated carefully and appropriate “crisis intervention” provided – when a situation may require further evaluation and appropriate interventions.
Rapid Re-Housing Barriers for Homeless Families:
While most practitioners now agree that many families who become homeless for the first time are able to move quickly back into permanent housing at rents they can afford, the majority of homeless families are low-income, single-heads-of-household, with poor education or employment histories for whom “rapid re-housing programs” are often delayed. Although it makes some sense to first have access to Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers – or know that one will be available when the Rapid Re-housing rent subsidy ends, some assessment tools in use today fail to recognize the vital role that “stable housing” plays. Permanent housing provides the platform for child and family well-being. From this stable housing base, parents are often able to engage in training and employment programs that will enable them to increase their incomes within a targeted period of time. Homeless families should never be denied access to permanent housing because there is no access to subsidized rental units or Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers.