Rapid Re-Housing

The Rapid Re-Housing program services target families and individuals who are currently residents of emergency or transitional housing programs. The goal is to enable households to move into permanent housing, either market rate or subsidized, by identifying housing options or working with existing subsidized housing providers and providing the household with the rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services needed to prevent a return to homelessness*.

The Rapid Re-Housing program is designed to assist households to rapidly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. It is offered without preconditions and the services provided are tailored to the needs of the household. The Rapid Re-Housing program is a Housing First intervention, meaning households will not be screened out for assistance based on criteria that assumes to predict successful outcomes, such as income, employment, criminal history, mental health history, medical history or evidence of “motivation”.

What’s Different About Rapid Re-Housing?

Traditional homeless services usually require a move into transitional housing, with participation in programs to make them “ready for housing.” Rapid Re-Housing focuses on assisting households move more quickly into permanent home environments—with appropriate services and support—minimizing the time they spend in shelters or on the street. Individual families gain from permanent supportive housing through this vital program, and the entire community benefits through a more stable workforce, reduced need for public assistance as well as lower school absenteeism.

Background

The Rapid Re-housing approach was funded through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act as a response to the 2008 recession. The Homelessness Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program infused large amounts of cash into the homeless service system, creating fast flowing new service approach. Based on need, households may receive short- or medium-term rental assistance and financial assistance with security deposits, utilities or moving costs. Households will receive assistance with locating and securing affordable housing. All households that receive more than one month’s rent or utility assistance will also receive Housing Stabilization Services. These may include housing and budget counseling and referrals/linkages to other services as needed. Provider agencies use the Self-Sufficiency Assessment and the Financial Assessment in HMIS to determine the Rapid re-housing services target families and individuals who are currently residents of emergency or transitional housing programs. The goal is to enable households to move into permanent housing, either market rate or subsidized, by identifying housing options or working with existing subsidized housing providers and providing the household with the rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services needed to prevent a return to homelessness.

Components

There are three core components of Rapid Re-Housing:

  1. Housing identification
  2. Rent and housing assistance (financial)
  3. Case management and services.

Eligible Participants/Heads of Households:

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older
  2. If not 18 years old, must provide documentation of legal  emancipation
  3. Household income is at or below 30 percent of Section 8 area medium  income
  4. Households that require more than one month’s financial assistance must agree to work with and receive after care services from a Housing Stabilization  Specialist
  5. Households must be referred from Emergency or Transitional Housing and meet the HUD definition of “literally homeless”

Ineligible Participants/Heads of Households:

  1. Households whose income exceeds 30 percent of Section 8 Area Median  Income
  2. Households who require more than one month’s financial assistance and are unwilling to work with Housing Stabilization Specialist

Results

  • Decreases the likelihood of a return to homelessness
  • May improve employment efforts (based on short-term income effects)
  • Moves households more quickly out of shelters with cost savings

The Rapid Re-Housing Program can use Emergency Solutions Grant funds for:

  1. Rental Assistance, including
    • Rental arrearages up to 6 months
    • Short-term (1 to 3 months)
    • Medium-term (4 to 24 months)
  2. Financial Assistance, including
    • Security Deposits
    • Utility Assistance
      • Arrearages up to 6 months only if the utility bill is a barrier to the household moving into permanent housing
      • Utility deposits (only after all other utility programs for low-income residents have been exhausted)
      • Utility payments (only after all other utility programs for low-income residents have been exhausted)
  3. Moving Costs
  4. Services Costs, including
    • Housing search and placement assistance
    • Housing stability case management

Additional guidelines regarding Rapid Re-Housing rental and financial assistance:

  1. Assistance provided in more than one category (i.e. rental arrearage and utility arrearage) or the same month would be considered one month of assistance
  2. The client’s rent for a new unit can be subsidized for up to a year with the household contributing 30 percent of its monthly income to the rent and the Provider Agency covering the remaining portion of the rent with ESG financial assistance.
  3. All Packages of Assistance must be approved by a Provider Agency supervisor or program manager.
  4. Each household is limited to a maximum of 24 total months of assistance over the course of the three-year ESG. If arrearage assistance is provided, the number of months should be included in the total months of assistance, not to exceed 24  months.
  5. All payments must be made to third parties, such as landlords or utility companies.
  6. ESG funds cannot be used for the following activities:
    • Mortgage assistance
    • Food
    • Transportation
    • Furniture
    • Other consumer debt

* Much of this information comes from the City of Philadelphia’s Consolidated Plan published by the Division of Housing and Community Development