There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for those experiencing homelessness

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There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for those experiencing homelessness

Categories: Blog

By Katie Scheuber, YWCA Housing Specialist

Katie ScheuberEveryone has unique barriers, challenges, histories, experiences, and resources available. With a lack of availability for affordable housing, housing programs, and even emergency shelter, it makes it hard for folx (why “folx?”) to meet their specific needs or to structure a plan, especially in a timely manner, for something that could be most beneficial and sustainable for them.

My role is to offer access to Coordinated Entry for Survivors of Domestic Violence.  I also make referrals to various housing authorities and non-profits, offer guidance on search strategies, information on different programs or interventions to homelessness, short-term options and long-term options. I’m always transparent with my knowledge and understanding of things and I let everyone know, ‘housing is very layered and complex, here’s what I’ve figured out thus far, but really, let’s continue to learn together!’

There’s so much to even begin scratching the surface on issues in housing and homelessness, but we can all learn more together as a community when we ask questions and share what we know.

For this particular post, I want to share a few quick points about Rapid Rehousing (RRH) as one intervention to homelessness:

  • A lot of YWCA Evanston/North Shore domestic violence shelter residents have gone on to pursue these types of opportunities through Coordinated Entry or non-profits offering similarly structured programs.
  • We recently partnered with Connections for the Homeless to implement our own program for a few of our shelter residents with funding from VOCA (the Victims of Crime Act.) Recently, we were able to work with five of our residents and their families in successfully placing them in units around the area!
  • A primary goal of a RRH program is to reduce the amount of time an individual or family may experience homelessness by working through barriers they may be facing in securing and maintaining housing, and building upon their strengths and supports to promote self-sufficiency.
  • Households should receive ‘just enough’ assistance in an RRH program; enough to ensure they aren’t going to return to homelessness, but not more than is necessary to ensure resources can be spread as much as possible given the limit in availability.
  • This program can be a great option for the majority of the population experiencing homelessness but as comprehensive as it may be, it still may not be the best fit for everyone, and a lot of people will still need longer term support services and financial assistance.

The time frame for getting into an RRH program is not necessarily as ‘rapid’ as it sounds. Due to increasing needs and limited availability in resources, it still might take anywhere from a week to three months or more to actually secure a spot in a program. From there, it can still take up to 1-2 months to secure the right apartment and landlord to work with. At that point, some folx only need three months in the program to get back on their feet, while others can extend their duration in the program up to a year or possibly two depending on where the funding for the program is coming from, and how they are progressing.

All of this to say, things are always changing, and unfortunately nothing can necessarily be guaranteed. The good thing is there are plenty of people such as myself to talk with, work with, and find support with, and we can achieve more when we work together more!

A much more comprehensive explanation of a Rapid Rehousing approach could be found from HUD, here.

I may be reached at kscheuber@ywca-ens.org or my Google Voice number, 708-730-4384.

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