New county program will house, stabilize up to 350 families

January 21, 2014

By Staff

A new pilot program will move as many as 350 homeless families in King County into rental housing by Dec. 31, 2014, and provide a range of short duration support services to help those families achieve stability.

More than $3.1 million will be dedicated to the pilot over the course of the next year.

The pilot program, Rapid Rehousing for Families, will provide short-term financial assistance and temporary housing-focused supports, including employment and training services, to help remove the barriers that hinder homeless families from accessing and maintaining housing. The program is designed to resolve the housing crisis, while also working with families to move toward independence.

One key feature of the pilot is a connected Employment Navigator program. The navigators will provide critical supports to assist in gaining employment as quickly as possible as a means to build their incomes. Families may continue working with the employment navigator on increasing their earning potential even after rapid re-housing assistance has ended.

Three agencies will provide employment navigators for homeless families enrolled in the pilot: King County Career Connections, Neighborhood House and YWCA Works.

Rapid rehousing is seeing positive results nationally. One study of 14 communities implementing rapid rehousing found that 85 percent of families served by the programs exited to their own housing at about $4,000 per family (compared to 55 percent of families exiting to housing at a cost of $22,214 per family in transitional housing). Seven communities also saw reduced rates of returns to homelessness.

Families served by a rapid rehousing program had a 4 percent likelihood of becoming homeless again within the following year, compared to a 9 percent likelihood of returning to homelessness after exiting transitional housing.

Six local agencies will participate in the pilot. They are Catholic Community Services, Domestic Abuse Women’s Network, Neighborhood House, Solid Ground, Wellspring Family Services and the YWCA.

Learn more about the Rapid Rehousing Pilot Program by calling Cheryl Markham, Housing and Community Development Program, at 206-263-9067 or email her at cheryl.markham@kingcounty.gov.

 

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