3.2 Introduction to Rapid Re-Housing for Families


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3.2 Introduction to Rapid Re-Housing for Families

Speaker: Marge Wherley

Even as Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program funding recedes, federal emphasis on rapid re-housing is here to stay, with implications for plans to end family homelessness. This workshop will provide an overview of rapid re-housing for families experiencing homelessness. Presenters will outline the basic housing and service elements needed, with examples showing how communities are making the systemic changes in response to federal policy.

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3.2 Introduction to Rapid Re-Housing for Families

  2. 2. James ―Whitey‖ Bulger, Boston Crime Boss, was a bad man 2 When captured in 2011, he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, accused of 19 murders He had 30 guns and $800,000 hidden in concealed holes in the walls of his apartment
  3. 3. But he was not all bad…. 3 According to his apartment manager, he had lived in the same unit for 15 years. He paid his rent on time and made few complaints. ―He was a good tenant.‖ Moral: There is hope for the homeless families in your program!!
  4. 4. Why Rapid Re-Housing? 4Rapid Re-Housing is a core service under HPRP andHEARTH because: Lack of stable housing is associated with:  Losing your job -> difficulty finding another job;  Missing school -> Bad grades-> Dropping out  Increased substance use/abuse;  Failure to follow doctor’s orders (e.g. taking meds);  Lower T-cell counts -> Lower life expectancy
  5. 5. Rapid Re-Housing Philosophy 5 People who are homeless can leave shelters or the streets and move directly into housing. They should not have to spend time earning and learning to live in housing before they move into housing. People learn best while they are housed.
  6. 6. Why not rapidly re-house homeless families? 6 Objections = Hidden Assumptions: 1. People at less than 30% of Area Median Income can’t afford housing without a deep, permanent subsidy. 2. People with personal problems can’t keep housing unless they receive deep, permanent support services.
  7. 7. Challenging Assumption #1 7 1986 1997 2011Minnesota TANFcash benefit for afamily of four (one $621 $621 $621parent and threechildrenFMR for a 2-bedroomapartment in $480 $621 $924Minneapolis area
  8. 8. Challenging Assumption #1 (cont.) 8Among households who rely primarily on publicbenefits for income, approximately 10% becomehomeless in a year.But that means 90% do not become homeless—eventhough only a small percentage have a deep rentalsubsidy.
  9. 9. Hennepin County, Minnesota 91570 families who entered a homeless shelterbetween 1/1/08-10/31/09: 66% had incomes of $0-$499/month 93% had been spending 66-80% of their income on rent All received Rapid Re-Housing; virtually none received a housing subsidy 95% did not return to shelter within 12 months of leaving homelessness.
  10. 10. Challenging Assumption #2 Disability = Homelessness? 131 3 Poverty is the primary cause of homelessness. Poverty is both a cause and a result of disability. Disabled people are 200-300% more likely to be poor than non-disabled people. About two-thirds of working age adults who experience long-term poverty have a disability Disabled people are more over-represented among the poor than single parents and more than any single ethnic or racial minority or ALL ethnic/racial minorities combined.
  11. 11. Hennepin Rapid Re-Housing Successful Outcomes (No return to homelessness within 12 months of leaving shelter) 11BARRIER LEVEL Agency A Agency BLevel 2— 97% 99%ModerateLevel 3— 97% 97%Moderately SevereLevel 4— 92% 88%Chronically HomelessLevel 5— 88% 93%SevereTotal: 95% 95%All Families(N= 1635)
  12. 12. Rapid Re-Housing 12What Rapid Re-Housing What Rapid Re-Housingdoes doesn’t doReduces the length of time people Cure povertyare homeless Assure people will have affordableMinimizes the impact of housing; i.e. eliminate rent burdenhomelessness on theiremployment, school attendance Protect them from the impact ofand health compliance the housing market, job market, bad choices or bad judgmentAllows people to access resourcesthat can help with their other Eliminate housing mobilitylonger-term life problems andgoals if they choose
  13. 13. Components of a High-Performing Rapid Re- Housing Program 13 Rapid engagement with people experiencing homelessness Targeting, screening and assessment is focused on housing barriers Immediate assistance is available housing search and start- up costs The program builds relationships with as many landlords as possible (except ―slumlords‖) Supportive services are based upon the needs and preferences of both tenants and landlords.
  14. 14. Rapid Engagement 14 The promise of a quick move into permanent housing is highly motivating  Demonstrate respect by not asking too many personal questions or requiring too much commitment too quickly Cultural competency is critical Staff who have personally experienced homelessness are more likely to make an instant connection with their clients
  15. 15. Targeting, Screening and Assessment 15Recommendation:1. Targeting: prioritize families who would remain homeless longest or be most harmed by continued homelessness.2. Screen for eligibility not for assumptions about future stability.3. Assess only what is necessary, timely and relevant to getting and keeping housing now.
  16. 16. Housing Search 16 Don’t assume households will substantially increase their incomes. Don’t search for housing they can’t keep when temporary subsidy ends. Families apply for every type of subsidy for which they qualify, even if there is a waiting list. Smallest unit they can tolerate in the least expensive area where they can find safe housing. Consider shared housing Start-up costs promised to landlord the same day a lease is offered.
  17. 17. Recruiting Landlords 17YOUR JOB: Minimize risks to the landlord Respond to problems caused by your program’s households Provide housing-related support to the household Act as an intermediary when conflict arises Facilitate a move-out vs. an eviction Source of future tenant referrals Extra incentives for households with the highest barriers:  Double damage deposit  Court eviction costs if needed  Repair or pay toward some damages
  18. 18. What kind of tenants do landlords want? 18 Someone who will… Pay the rent on time, Treat the building with respect, Treat other people with respect (and don’t get into trouble with the police)
  19. 19. Pay the Rent on Time 19 Budgeting – Where does the money go? Increase income— Employment, benefits, EITC, sell blood, babysitting, utility assistance Reduce expenses– Cheaper utility plans, food or clothing shelf, downsize car or apartment Emergency reserves for future crises Vendor pay or representative payee
  20. 20. Treat the Building With Respect 20 Much tenant damage results from carelessness and ignorance Lack of minimal housekeeping can cause significant and expensive damage Use of wrong cleaning products or tools can cause expensive damage. One primary, universal focus: abuse of plumbing and fire-safety concerns
  21. 21. Treat Other People With Respect 21 This means other tenants, nearby neighbors and, of course, the landlord. The ―soft expectations‖ (unwritten rules) of renting: noise, ―traffic,‖ smells, children’s behavior, etc. Landlords rarely turn a blind eye to things that jeopardize their financial/legal interests.
  22. 22. Follow the Lease 22 Read and explain— in simple terminology -- the lease (or have a tenant/legal service provider ―translate‖). Assure they have a basic understanding of tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities.
  23. 23. WHAT DOES MY LEASE SAY? 23Things that can get me evicted: Rent is more than 5 days late Someone moves in with me (stays more than 2 weeks) If I get a dog If the police are called about me twice in 30 days If anyone buys or sells drugs in my unitThings I can do but only if the landlord agrees: Get a roommate Get a cat
  24. 24. Home Visits 24 Use drop-in visits to look for ―red flags‖ (if a landlord suddenly evicts your participant, you haven’t been paying attention) Home visits are also a good time for ―in vivo‖ teaching about noise levels, garbage removal, basic housekeeping—the ―soft skills‖ of renting.
  25. 25. Anticipate Problems 25 History DOES repeat. Family should develop a plan to prevent/avoid or resolve issues that have led to housing loss. Plan ahead/Role play how to discuss late rent, damage, needed repairs, complaints. Document: write/keep letters about requests, complaints, agreements, etc.
  26. 26. Now that you know what landlords want….. 26 When Whitey Bulger gets out of prison, with no income, assets, plan or support system, which of you would accept him for Rapid Re-Housing?