In 2009, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) created the first nationwide implementation of housing first and prevention strategies for reducing homelessness. The three year program was comprised of homeless prevention services for those in danger of becoming homeless, and rapid rehousing assistance for people experiencing homelessness and in need of permanent housing.
After three years of HPRP implementation, local project evaluations highlighting lessons learned are beginning to emerge. A couple of weeks ago, Our Place Housing Solutions (OPHS) released its report “Internal Evaluation of the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Rehousing Program Administered.” The report looks at HPRP in East Los Angeles County between 2010 and 2012, and the 360 clients and their households assisted during this period.
One of the most notable findings of OPHS’s evaluation was that rapid rehousing required 58% less direct financial assistance than prevention, but more effort from case managers who had to spend significant time assisting with housing location. The median amount of assistance received by rapid rehousing clients was $2,344, while that of prevention clients was $4,064. Also important to note was that a significant minority of those enrolled in prevention stated that they did not believe they would have become homeless “if not for the assistance” as was required by HUD.
Although homelessness prevention may be more effective in avoiding the personal and social trauma of a household becoming homeless, the implications of this evaluation are that future programs modeled on HPRP and operating with limited funding may be able to help more clients and achieve more concrete results fighting homelessness by prioritizing rapid rehousing over prevention strategies.
Download the full report for more information: full report