On this last day of Social Work Month, we are highlighting one of THC’s, and the District’s, key programs to prevent and end homelessness – rapid re-housing. The rapid re-housing program emerged in 2009 as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), a federal stimulus bill meant to reduce the high unemployment and growing homelessness in the wake of the Great Recession. The federal program has ended, but rapid re-housing has become a central homelessness intervention policy across the country.
Informed by a Housing First approach, rapid re-housing quickly connects people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through time-limited financial assistance and support services. At THC, the rapid re-housing program is one of our most robust, with a team of 13 THC staff providing case management and support to more than 160 families.
The Rapid Re-housing (RRH) team faces a myriad of challenges on a daily basis – from phone calls from clients in the wee hours of the morning to unresponsive landlords – but still manage to deliver the intensive case management that helps families achieve housing stability. As one case manager mentioned, “it’s a 24/7 job, putting out fires.”
Our RRH case managers not only connect families to housing options (in conjunction with our Housing Services Team), but become a trusted resource as they help families learn household management and problem solving skills. They provide encouragement and motivation, while also empowering their clients to make their own decisions. In the midst of new challenges that arise, “stick to the plan,” has become a mantra of sorts for some case managers and clients. That mantra can help focus clients and allows them to see the big picture as they work towards their educational and career goals.
Despite the challenges, our RRH team’s dedication to their clients has tangible results – more education, more stable jobs and more permanent housing for their clients. Jermaine Kenner, a long-time THC employee and RRH case manager, will see his client, Waynika Simms, be honored as our Client Achievement Award Recipient at this year’s Living in the City benefit. We are proud of our RRH team and the integral part they play in helping us end family homelessness.