Rapid Rehousing

 

Rapid rehousing provides short-term rental assistance and services. The goals are to help people obtain housing quickly, increase self- sufficiency, and stay housed. It is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety) and the resources and services provided are typically tailored to the needs of the person.

Rapid rehousing is a primary solution for ending homelessness. It has been demonstrated to be effective in getting people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing and keeping them there. By connecting people with a home, they are in a better position to address other challenges that may have led to their homelessness, such as obtaining employment or addressing substance abuse issues. The intervention has also been effective for people traditionally perceived to be more difficult to serve, including people with limited or no income and survivors of domestic violence.

Research demonstrates that those who receive rapid rehousing assistance are homeless for shorter periods of time than those assisted with shelter or transitional housing. Rapid rehousing is also less expensive than other homeless interventions, such as shelter or transitional housing.

Rapid Rehousing Success Story: Tre

Tre was 26 years old when he arrived at Front Steps, seeking a place to sleep in the shelter at night. He had been staying with his mother but the living situation fell apart, and Tre was walking the streets for weeks. He felt hopeless and eventually sought advice from a local police officer. The police officer observed some mental health symptoms and encouraged Tre to seek help from community partners. With the support of Integral Care, he was prescribed medications that helped him feel calmer and more focused. Front Steps provided shelter, a housing plan, and connected Trey with even more support services. Goodwill assisted him in obtaining employment at Camp Mabry, which allowed him to establish financial security and secure benefits. Tre and his Front Steps Case Manager found housing, and with his new stability he felt able to finish his education—he is now only 7 credits away from getting his high school diploma through Goodwill’s Excel Center. Tre states that he has never been happier and has high hopes to attend college and pursue a career in business.

“Front Steps has Rapid ReHousing (RRH) intervention for single adult men staying in our shelter. A client is referred to RRH if they are enrolled in shelter case management. RRH is designed to be the quickest way out of homelessness for those clients who have primarily financial barriers to housing stability. A lot of people experiencing homelessness and staying in the shelter can afford rent–but they cannot afford rent AND application fees, security and utility deposits. These individuals may also have rental debt, and RRH case management can deal with that as well. We have a really good success rate, these clients are stable in housing when we exit them from Rapid ReHousing.

 

A statement from Haggai Eshed, President of the Front Steps Board of Directors 

As of September 30, Austin Public Health will terminate all contracts with Front Steps.  

This termination is difficult news for all of us. It is especially concerning because there has never been a time when the coordination and success of homeless service providers in our community matter more than now. 

Most importantly, our clients will continue to have access to our services and programs. Programs for all clients will continue as usual.   

“In the height of the pandemic, our organization experienced multiple organizational challenges, including major staffing changes and vacancies. The magnitude of these issues now is where we need to pivot our operations,” Haggai Eshed, President of the Front Steps Board of Directors, said. “As a former Front Steps staff member, and now as Board President, it is my responsibility that, in the face of uncertainty, the continuation of client services during this transition is our top priority.” 

For 25 years, Front Steps has helped clients navigate wait lists, overcome personal setbacks, cope with negative public opinion and manage the daily stresses of being on the streets or in shelter settings. With our around-the-clock presence, many people experiencing homelessness in Austin would be without life-saving shelter and resources. We recognize this also impacts Front Steps’ hardworking, dedicated frontline staff. 

While the city begins to work with homeless service providers to absorb current contracts that include the operation of the Southbridge Shelter, our Permanent Supportive Housing programs, and the ARCH function, there are more than 250 clients enrolled in these three programs. We are committed to continuing their services through the end of our fiscal year, September 30, 2022. 

When this transition is complete, our nonprofit partners in this work – already operating at maximum capacity – will be responsible for the care of our clients. Your support for their work is crucial as the need is great and resources are thin as nonprofits are significantly impacted by the increased social and economic instability we all face. 

Over the next 90 days, we are committed to working alongside Austin Public Health to maintain stability. We will work to ensure that this transition protects our clients and maintains the integrity of our organization.