Rapid re-housing programs

Rapid re-housing programs provide support services to move families or individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, usually within 30 days. Support services vary; core components often include help finding permanent housing, case management, social services, and short-term financial assistance for move-in costs and rent. Program staff may also assist with landlord negotiations. Assistance typically lasts 4-6 months, but may extend up to 18 months. Rapid re-housing programs are available to anyone experiencing homelessness, and often serve military veterans and their families, but may not be appropriate for individuals who are chronically homeless or need permanent supportive housing. Individuals typically connect with rapid re-housing programs through emergency shelters, food pantries, and other social service programs (NAEH-RR 2016, US ICH-RR, US HUD-RR). Programs sometimes focus on specific groups, such as families with school-aged children (CDOLA-RRH Next Step) or survivors of domestic violence (NAEH-RRH Domestic violence).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Reduced homelessness

  • Improved access to social services

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Increased housing stability

  • Increased food security

  • Improved health outcomes

  • Improved mental health

  • Increased income

  • Increased employment

  • Reduced drug and alcohol use

  • Reduced absenteeism

  • Improved child behavior

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that rapid re-housing programs decrease the length of time individuals and families remain homeless (US HUD-Finkel 2016, Davis 2012, , , , US ICH-RR) and increase access to social services (Davis 2012, , US ICH-RR). Rapid re-housing programs may also increase housing stability (Davis 2012, US HUD-Finkel 2016, , ), particularly for families who are newly homeless (Davis 2012) or those who need only short-term support (). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Rapid re-housing efforts can decrease rates of homelessness (US ICH-RR, Urban-Cunningham 2015) and increase shelter turnover rates, enabling shelters to assist more people (US ICH-RR, US HUD-Gubits 2015). Evaluations of programs that serve military veterans and their families indicate approximately 75% of participants have permanent housing without assistance after exiting rapid re-housing programs (, NAEH-SSVF-RURR, US HUD-Cunningham 2015a); other family-focused rapid re-housing programs yield similar results (Davis 2012). Only a small portion of rapid re-housing participants return to homelessness after program completion (Urban-Cunningham 2018, Urban-Cunningham 2015, ); those at higher risk include blacks, veterans, and individuals whose incomes do not increase following housing placement (). Studies suggest single mothers, particularly survivors of trauma and abuse, may require added support services to ensure stable housing (US HUD-Gubits 2015, ).

Program participation can increase family income (US HUD-Gubits 2015, US HUD-Finkel 2016) and employment (US HUD-Finkel 2016), and improve financial stability (). Rapid re-housing programs can increase food security more than usual care and transitional housing (US HUD-Gubits 2017, US HUD-Gubits 2015) and improve wellbeing for adults and children (US HUD-Finkel 2016). Programs may also improve mental and short-term physical health for heads of households (US HUD-Gubits 2017, US HUD-Finkel 2016) and reduce drug and alcohol use more than transitional housing (US HUD-Gubits 2017). Rapid re-housing also appears to reduce school absences and child behavior issues (US HUD-Gubits 2017).

Program evaluations suggest three core components of successful rapid re-housing programs: housing identification, often in partnership with landlords; rent and move-in assistance; and case management and services that connect with other providers (Urban-Cunningham 2018). Partnerships between shelters, agencies, funding organizations, and landlords can increase efficiency of implementation and reduce redundancy in procedures (Davis 2012, Sloan 2015).

Requirements to secure housing and employment in a short time period and to regularly recertify can be barriers to participation in rapid re-housing programs. After leaving the program, some families may have difficulty paying their full rent without subsidies (Urban-Cunningham 2015, Davis 2012, Fisher 2014).

Researchers suggest that rapid re-housing programs are a scalable and cost-effective homelessness crisis response intervention (, Urban-Cunningham 2018). Rapid re-housing programs are more cost-effective than transitional housing programs and shelters (US HUD-Gubits 2017, Urban-Cunningham 2018, US HUD-RR, US HUD-Gubits 2015). Rapid re-housing costs about $900 per month/per-family; transitional housing ranges from $1,260 to $6,300 per family (US HUD-Gubits 2017); costs for rapid re-housing differ based on local rental rates (US HUD-Gubits 2017, Urban-Cunningham 2015). Financial support to cover move-in costs such as first and last month’s rent, security deposits, and utility payments are the largest program costs (US ICH-RR, Davis 2012).

Impact on Disparities

Likely to decrease disparities

Implementation Examples

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $1.5 billion in funding for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (US HUD-ARRA 2009). These funds are allocated to rapid re-housing programs in all 50 states to assist households with the greatest need of short-term assistance by providing “just enough” financial assistance, housing search support, and other specific services (US HUD-RR).

Rapid re-housing programs can operate at the state, county, or municipality level, as in Connecticut (CT CEH-CT RRP); Hennepin County, MN (NAEH-RR 2014, Pew-Henderson 2015); and Salt Lake City, UT (Pew-Henderson 2015). Non-profit organizations can also provide rapid re-housing services, such as Journey Home in Greater Hartford, CT (Journey Home).

Programs may focus services on specific groups. Colorado’s Rapid Re-housing Next Step program, for example, focuses on families with school-aged children and unaccompanied students 18 years of age or older (CDOLA-RRH Next Step) and their Rapid Re-housing Re-entry program works to break the cycle of homelessness and incarceration (CDOLA-RRH Re-entry). Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance’s Rapid Re-Housing for Families program (MHSA-RRH) and Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles rapid re-housing program for woman needing housing (DWC) include an additional focus on survivors of domestic violence.

Rapid re-housing programs can be a collaborative effort between non-profits and social service agencies. The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) and the Road Home Dane County, in Wisconsin, are two examples of such collaborative efforts (RHDC-RR).

The VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program is one rapid re-housing program that serves veterans. The program provides grants to organizations which place veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and their families in stable, permanent housing and provide services to help them maintain stable housing (VA-SSVF, Sturtevant 2015, NAEH-SSVF). The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, a partnership between the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), uses concepts from rapid re-housing, Housing First, and permanent supportive housing with added mental health services to serve homeless veterans (US ICH-Veteran homelessness).

Implementation Resources

US HUD-HPRP resources - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), HUD Exchange. Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP): Resources regarding program requirements, promising practices and stories, FAQs and implementation resources.

Phillips 2010a - Philips SW. Rapid rehousing: A manual for providers. 2010.

Beyond Shelter-RR - Beyond Shelter. Working with landlords in Housing First/rapid re-housing: Strategies for providers to interact with landlords, address housing barriers, tips for tenants, how to maintain good relationship with landlords.

NAEH-RR 2016 - National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Rapid re-housing performance benchmarks and program standards. 2016.

Safe Housing Partnerships - Safe Housing Partnerships. Rapid re-housing, housing first, housing tax credits, and other affordable housing approaches. Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium: a collaboration of the Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services; the Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime, US Department of Justice; and the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs, US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

NCCEH-RRH - North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH). Best practices: Rapid re-housing (RRH).

LHS - Local Housing Solutions (LHS). To enhance local affordability and foster inclusive communities. New York University Furman Center and Abt Associates, Inc.

Citations - Evidence

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Urban-Cunningham 2015 - Cunningham MK, Gillespie S, Anderson J. Rapid re-housing: What the research says. Washington, DC: Urban Institute; 2015.

US ICH-RR - United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (US ICH). Rapid re-housing (RR).

US HUD-RR - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD). What is rapid re-housing (RR)?

NAEH-SSVF-RURR - National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Ramping up rapid re-housing (RURR): Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. 2015.

Davis 2012 - David TH, Lane TS. Rapid re-housing of families experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts: Maintaining housing stability. Center for Social Policy Publications. Paper 61. 2012.

Sloan 2015 - Sloan MF, Ford KA, Merritt DM. Shifts in practice based on rapid re-housing for rural homelessness: An exploratory study of micropolitan homeless service provision. Contemporary Rural Social Work. 2015;7(2):127-134.

US HUD-Gubits 2015 - Gubits D, Shinn M, Bell S, et al. Family Options Study: Short-term impacts of housing and services interventions for homeless families. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research; 2015.

Fisher 2014 - Fisher BW, Mayberry L, Shinn M, Khadduri J. Leaving homelessness behind: Housing decisions among families exiting shelter. Housing Policy Debate. 2014;24(2):364-386.

US HUD-Cunningham 2015a - Cunningham M, Biess J, Emam D, Burt M, Urban Institute. Veterans homelessness prevention demonstration evaluation: Final report. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research; 2015.

Byrne 2016* - Byrne T, Treglia D, Culhane DP, Kuhn J, Kane V. Predictors of homelessness among families and single adults after exit from homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs: Evidence from the Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. Housing Policy Debate. 2016;26(1).

Brown 2018* - Brown M, Klebek L, Chodzen G, et al. Housing status among single adults following homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program participation in Indianapolis. Evaluation and Program Planning. 2018;69:92-98.

Brown 2017* - Brown M, Vaclavik D, Dennis WP, Wilka E. Predictors of homeless services re-entry within a sample of adults receiving homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program (HPRP) assistance. Psychological Services. 2017;14(2):129-140.

Patterson 2018* - Patterson DA, West S, Harrison TM, Higginbotham L. No easy way out: One community’s efforts to house families experiencing homelessness. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 2018;97(3):212-220.

Urban-Cunningham 2018 - Cunningham M, Batko S. Rapid re-housing’s role in responding to homelessness: What the evidence says. Washington, DC: Urban Institute; 2018.

Rodriguez 2017* - Rodriguez JM, Eidelman TA. Homelessness interventions in Georgia: Rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and the likelihood of returning to shelter. Housing Policy Debate. 2017;27(6):825-842.

US HUD-Gubits 2017 - Gubits D, Shinn M, Wood M, et al. Family Options Study: 3-Year impacts of housing and services interventions for homeless families. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research; 2016.

US HUD-Finkel 2016 - Finkel M, Henry M, Matthews N, et al. Rapid re-housing for homeless families demonstration programs evaluation report part II: Demonstration findings—outcomes evaluation. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research; 2016.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

NAEH-RR 2014 - National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Rapid re-housing (RR): A history and core components. 2014.

US HUD-RR - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD). What is rapid re-housing (RR)?

NAEH-SSVF - National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) fiscal year 2014 annual report.

Pew-Henderson 2015 - Henderson T. Attacking homelessness with 'rapid rehousing.' The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). 2015.

US HUD-ARRA 2009 - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD). American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

NAEH - National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). About us: The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States.

Journey Home - Journey Home. Journey Home works in the Greater Hartford region: Innovative solutions to end homelessness.

US ICH-Veteran homelessness - United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (US ICH). Mayors challenge to end veteran homelessness: Criteria and benchmarks for ending veteran homelessness.

RHDC-RR - The Road Home Dane County (RHDC). Rapid Re-housing (RR) program: A collaborative effort between three homeless family shelters: The Salvation Army, The Road Home, and the YWCA Madison.

CT CEH-CT RRP - Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CT CEH). The state of Connecticut Rapid Re-housing Program (CT RRP).

Sturtevant 2015 - Sturtevant L, Brennan M, Viveiros J, Handelman E. Housing and services needs of our changing veteran population. Washington, DC: National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy; 2015.

VA-SSVF - US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Homeless veterans. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.

CDOLA-RRH Next Step - Colorado Department of Local Affairs (CDOLA). Rapid Re-housing Next Step. Ensure students experiencing homelessness have the basic foundation of housing and support.

CDOLA-RRH Re-entry - Colorado Department of Local Affairs (CDOLA). Rapid Re-housing Re-entry. End the cycle of homelessness and incarceration.

MHSA-RRH - Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA). Rapid re-housing.

DWC - Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). Community-based housing program. Los Angeles, California.

Date Last Updated

Mar 1, 2019