Invest in change. Spend on impact. (Re)Profile the resources in your community to meet needs. For many communities, this means figuring out how to fund rapid rehousing – or to scale up their rapid rehousing.
While not the case 100% of the time, those communities that struggle the most with figuring out how to make this happen are the ones that will not let go of anything they are currently doing – whether or not that is aligned with ending homelessness – and will entertain it if and only if they have new resources. Peel back the curtain, though, and you can often see opportunities to make rapid rehousing (and other things like expansion of PSH or housing-focused street outreach) if – and only if – the organization/community is brave enough and strategic enough to change what they have always done.
Let’s look at a few common examples:
- Scattered site transitional housing can be (relatively) easy to transform into a rapid rehousing program.
- Survival based street outreach that hands out socks, sleeping bags, tarps and the like would be better spent providing rapid rehousing directly from the street.
- Using homelessness and housing resources to fund substance use recovery programs (residential or otherwise), is essentially letting health and addiction funders off the hook, and misusing housing resources for treatment. Homelessness and housing resources could be spent on rapid rehousing. Yes, resources may be necessary for treatment, but don’t use your homelessness and housing resources to fund it.
- Extensive programming within shelters such life skills training, budgeting programs, socio-recreation programs, etc. are well intentioned but misplaced when in shelter. These resources would be better spent on rapid rehousing and providing these types of supports in community.
We do not provide services in an environment of unlimited resources. I have yet to find the community that feels they have more money or staff resources than they know what to do with, and therefore, need to make more intelligent and informed decisions on investing. Rapid rehousing is worth investing in. Don’t confuse where money has always been invested with where it should be invested.