Rapid Re-housing is an intervention designed to help individuals and families that don't need intensive and ongoing supports to quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Rapid re-housing assistance is offered without preconditions — like employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety — and the resources and services provided are tailored to the unique needs of the household.
Expedited Housing Initiative (EHI)
In September 2020, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) announced that more than $35 million in CARES Act funding and a $1.3 million investment from Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH) will be awarded to All Chicago Making Homelessness History (All Chicago) to spearhead the Expedited Housing Initiative (EHI), a homeless intervention program aimed at rapidly connecting residents experiencing homelessness to available rental subsidies and units by removing barriers such as income verification and other limitations that can impede rapid placement of the residents in rental units.
DFSS, All Chicago and the Chicago Continuum of Care (CoC) piloted EHI in April 2020 in response to COVID-19. Clients in congregate homeless shelter settings who were considered high risk of COVID-19 complications due to older age or health, were placed in separate hotel rooms as a safety precaution and then linked to permanent housing for continued stability, and to prevent them from returning back to homeless shelters or other congregate living environments.
Chicago Rents, an EHI program, serves as a connector for landlords, people in need of homes, rental subsidies and housing support case managers. To join this initiative, landlord should complete All Chicago’s Landlord Survey to report their unit availability. Each household receives supportive services from trained staff, laying the foundation for a positive tenant-landlord relationship.
CFTEH is a collaborative of more than 20 Chicago-area funders working to address issues of homelessness and housing instability. The group formally launched in spring 2020 and is being incubated at Michael Reese Health Trust. Several CFTEH funders collectively invested $1.3 million in EHI including Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros. Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
Re-Housing Assessment by the Government Performance Lab at Harvard Kennedy School
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) worked with the GPL to figure out how to improve re-housing supports for individuals experiencing homelessness while they are in shelter, while avoiding incentives for shelters to become long-term service delivery hubs.
With GPL support, DFSS communicated an updated vision for shelter goals and critical activities across program models through a new procurement, supported shelters to improve on core internal rehousing activities, and identified priority referrals to support families experiencing homelessness in achieving re-housing goals.
As a result of these efforts, project partners have: redistributed approximately $19 million in shelter funding for over 3,300 shelter beds to explicitly focus on quickly and stably rehousing clients; identified and improved service delivery activities that help to rehouse clients while equipping DFSS with better data to drive decision-making; and internalized capacity and tools for DFSS to continually update the role of shelters in helping make homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring.
Click here to read the full project report.