Rapid re-housing is a promising intervention designed to quickly connect families and pregnant women temporarily experiencing homelessness to permanent housing and services. Studies show significant gains in long-term success and housing stability when a family is able to quickly leave homeless shelters and get stabilized immediately.
A YEAR AGO, the Department of Human Services partnered with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services to administer this demonstration over a two-year period in West Philadelphia. The first participating families were rapidly re-housed and connected to needed services and employment with the goal of helping them attain self-sufficiency and ultimately reduce or eliminate their need for assistance in the future. In addition to receiving permanent housing, all 22 families from Year One received housing stabilization services, which included the completion of a stabilization plan. All of the families also received job development services, and as a result, 33 percent of families exiting the program also increased their income. As more families exit the program, we anticipate the growth of increased-income families to reach to 50 percent. All families who have exited the program thus far have remained in stable housing.
YEAR TWO OF THIS DEMONSTRATION started July 1, 2017, and will rapidly re-house 28 TANF-eligible families experiencing homelessness. Upon exiting the program, additional emphasis will be placed on securing employment and increasing income to better ensure families can maintain housing. Program evaluation and data collection will continue for 12 months. The demonstration is evaluated on a variety of performance measures to inform future efforts and explore best practices to better serve vulnerable TANF-eligible families experiencing homelessness.
Ms. W entered the TANF Program as a single female with a child. Ms. W’s highest grade of education is 11th grade and her monthly entry income was $316. Ms. W obtained employment but had to resign when she became pregnant. After giving birth, Ms. W obtained full-time employment and increased her income from $316 to more than $1,000 a month, contingent upon an increase in hours. When the subsidy ended, she was able to maintain her rent without assistance. She also receives SNAP benefits to supplement food for her family. The Housing Stabilization Specialist negotiated a reduction in the rent from $900 to $800. Ms. W is still in the same apartment and is paying her rent independently.
Ms. J entered the TANF Program as a single female with an adopted child. Ms. J’s income at the beginning of the program was $480 a month adoption assistance. Ms. J is also partially disabled, but was not receiving disability payments when she entered the program. Ms. J did not have full use of her left arm which caused her to lose her job and, consequently, become homeless. The Housing Stabilization Specialist requested a rent reduction from $900 to $800 a month. Ms. J is currently employed through her church making $50 to $75 plus tips, varying by engagement. Due to her partial disability, she is in the process of getting her SSI/SSDI benefits. Ms. J also receives SNAP benefits to supplement food for the family. Ms. J is still in her apartment and is paying her rent independently.
SOURCES: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services / City of Philadelphia