New Rapid Rehousing Program Houses 56 Families in 4 Months
5/15/2015 3:02 PM
You may or may not know that Hope House started a brand new housing program in January—the first of its kind in Milwaukee, WI. “Rapid rehousing” is a new national model for ending homeless that involves placing a homeless family or individual into permanent housing as soon as possible after they become homeless. Through federal and county funding, Hope House began its Safe Landing rapid rehousing program to meet the needs of homeless families in Milwaukee.
Families are referred to Safe Landing by nearby shelters or the Hope House emergency shelter, at which point they are screened and matched with an experienced case manager. Each family then begins the housing search process using a list of landlords who have agreed to work with our program. Housing must meet federal guidelines about quality, safety, size and cost to ensure that each family secures housing that meets their needs and isn’t overpriced. Once a family is approved to rent a home, they move in and receive monthly rental subsidies based on their income, factoring in additional utility costs. Their designated case managers meet with them biweekly to assist them in increasing their income, connecting them with necessary services and maintaining their housing.
A majority of families are guaranteed subsidies for a full year of tenancy, with the goal being that once the year is finished, they are able to afford the unit on their own. Every three months, client income is reevaluated and the rental subsidy tapers off based on this.
The program has now been running for 4 months and we are pleased to announce that we have housed 56 families so far. The graphic above illustrates the amount of time it took each client to end their homelessness, from the date they had their first meeting with a case manager (intake) to the date they moved into their new home. As you can see, most families had secured housing with a month. This is record time in which to provide families with permanent housing, a truly rapid rehousing program.
Part of that success rate comes from the willingness of area landlord to work with clients who might otherwise not be approved as tenants. Client barriers to housing include low-income status, eviction records, domestic violence, debts (including energy bills, student loans, phone bills, etc.), family size, and criminal records. Any of these can be reason for a landlord to disqualify a potential tenant. But with the support of our program, we have connected with nearly 30 different landlords who are open to working with our homeless clients. Eight of these landlords have even agreed to house multiple clients from the Safe Landing program in various apartments and duplexes throughout the city of Milwaukee. The graphic below illustrates the status of current clients in the program. You’ll see that the majority of clients have been housed or are in the search process, a number we’re particularly proud of.
The families served by Safe Landing consist mostly of single mothers with one or two children, although some program participants are single fathers or couples, and some have three or four children. Children range in age from newborns to 17 year olds. The average subsidy for clients currently in or about to move into housing is $596 per month. This includes 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units, averaged out. To date, Hope House has paid out $158,192 toward rent, security deposits and utility payments for clients in Safe Landing.
We’re excited to see how this new program develops over the coming year and we’re excited to watch our clients grow and thrive with the stability of a permanent place to call home.
If you would like to make a donation to support this new initiative, just click here.