Is Rapid ReHousing the Best Way to Go?

affordable housing, homelessness, Rapid ReHousing

Click here to read or listen to a poignant piece from American University’s radio station WAMU ….  Rapid ReHousing is a program that began at the federal level, but has since caught on at the state and local levels.  Rapid ReHousing is a temporary fix for the long-term problem of limited affordable housing.  This program gives homeless families a rental voucher that allows them to live in an average cost apartment for a certain period of time (usually six months to two years, depending on the program).  When the rental voucher runs out, some families cannot afford the “average” cost rent and they are forced to move out.

According to WAMU’s report, Rapid ReHousing is encouraged by advocates who predict that it will work for about 80% of families who will not re-enter a shelter after participating in the program.  These are only predicted figures that acknowledge the “band aid fix” nature of the intervention.

However, the Rapid ReHousing program model does not solve the real problem: limited affordable housing.  An excerpt from the report shines light on the severity of the problem:

“Kate Coventry, a policy analyst with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, says to afford market-rate rent, a single mom making minimum wage would have to work three full time jobs, or more than 120 hours a week…’I think it is a mistake to think that the homeless system alone can solve all of these issues of poverty,’ says Kelly Sweeney McShane, with Community of Hope. “We need more affordable housing. We need more jobs. We need more living wage jobs. We need other services that will help families not fall through the cracks.’ ”