Letter: Working together to end homelessness

Carrie Slagle

Rapid rehousing is an approach to ending homelessness for individuals and families who are homeless, defined as living in emergency shelters or on the streets. This intervention supports households to exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Prolonged exposure to homelessness can have a significant negative effect on adults and children. This is why rapid rehousing is an important tool in our community efforts to end homelessness.

How does rapid rehousing work? Through case management services and limited financial support the program helps homeless households obtain and move into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Case management first works to navigate housing options and remove barriers to tenancy. Once housing is obtained, services continue to focus on stabilization by getting households connected to services and supports, if needed. Rapid rehousing is a short-term intervention focusing on housing people first, then building supports and connections to people and programs in the community. Assistance ends when households are no longer facing imminent risk of homelessness. In some instances, case management can continue after financial assistance ends if appropriate or requested by the household.

Monitoring of the effectiveness of rapid rehousing continues; thus far it appears to have encouraging outcomes: decreased length of homelessness, fewer returns to homelessness when placed in permanent housing, lower costs per household than other interventions, and increasing households self-sufficiency. Resources to support rapid rehousing and planning around the model’s core components — housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, and rapid rehousing case management and services — are key to successful outcomes for this intervention.

Carrie Slagle

Waypoint Services

Continuum of Care

Cedar Rapids

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