Rapid re-housing is the practice of focusing resources on helping families and individuals quickly move out of homelessness and into permanent housing, which is usually housing in the private market. Services to support rapid re-housing include housing search and landlord negotiation, short-term financial and rental assistance, and the delivery of home-based housing stabilization services, as needed. Priority is placed on helping individuals and families move into permanent housing as rapidly as possible and providing services to help them maintain housing. Rapid re-housing has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing homelessness, particularly among families. Rapid re-housing also increases turnover in shelters, which allows them to accommodate more families without increasing capacity.
For more information, see "Core Componants of Rapid Re-Housing" and "Rapid Re-Housing Tips from High Cost, Low Vacancy Communities" from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
One of many examples of Rapid Re-Housing at work in New Jersey is Mercer County. The Mercer County Board of Social Services and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness have made a significant impact on ending family homelessness by implementing rapid re-housing techniques. In a two year period, the number of families in shelter or transitional housing on any given day declined by 20 percent and the number of families residing in motels over the course of a month declined by 66 percent.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness explains, Mercer county's "rapid re-housing staff serve as housing advocates, visiting prospective apartments with their clients, helping them negoitate rents with landlords, and carefully reviewing leases to ensure tenant rights are protected. Families on TANF in the county are eligible to receive up to 24 months of emergency rental assistance to help them exit homelessness..." However, most families stop receiving the assistance once they become stably employed, and on average, the most recent cohort of families required just five months of rental assistance. "Families who are rapidly re-housed receive case management services designed to help them stabilize in their new housing and ensure they have the resources they need to stay stably housed." For more details, click here.