Rapid rehousing places those who experiencing homelessness into accommodation as soon as possible. The intervention provides assistance in finding accommodation, and limited duration case work to connect the client to other services.
Rapid rehousing is intended to provide stable accommodation and so provide those who would otherwise experience homelessness a basis for maintaining employment , tackling substance abuse and achieving better health.
By reducing the period of homelessness, rapid rehousing minimises the adverse effects of homelessness on mental health, employment and other outcomes. The intervention provides accommodation and links the client to other services to help tackle other issues they may have.
Rapid Rehousing may reduce substance abuse and improve child behaviour.
Rapid Rehousing performs no better than usual care across most outcomes.
There is one RCT from the United States (Texas) and one before versus after study also from the United States.
The intervention is targeted at those newly experiencing homelessness.
Rapid rehousing may do no better than usual services for housing stability, family preservation, adult and child well being (other than child behaviour) and economic self-sufficiency. One study compares rapid rehousing with a permanent housing subsidy and a transitional housing intervention, both of which perform better than rapid rehousing across for most outcomes.
If you are implementing a rapid rehousing programme, consider carefully how best to combine access to stable accommodation with non-housing support, including financial help to secure housing, employment/skills training, and access to physical/mental healthcare. Consider including childcare support which can enable service users to secure employment.
If you are a commissioner, be aware that user groups require different levels of resources. Young people and large families are more likely to have higher support needs and need more ongoing communication and assistance to remain in their home.
If you are involved with funding-related reporting, set up clear procedures to monitor the progress of service users and evaluate effectiveness. Reporting mechanisms should be appropriate to the style of programme and as simple as possible to minimise bureaucracy for staff. Well-constructed frameworks can support greater consistency in service provision between services.
Implementing agencies must identify clearly their target service users and establish clear referral processes to minimise the burden on referral agencies and service users. Consider organising this centrally for schemes that operate over large geographic areas. Ensure referral criteria are not too strict to avoid service users with severe housing needs being turned away. Consider carefully whether the service will only assist people for whom long-term housing success is likely or whether it will help a wider range of service users progress towards stable housing but accept there may be more failed tenancies along the way.
Personalised care plans and ongoing contact with staff can be hugely beneficial and are highly valued by service users. Ensure your staff are equipped to engage positively and proactively with other agencies in order to support service users.