Evaluation of the Rapid Re-housing for Homeless Families Demonstration (RRHD)  Program


In 2009, HUD awarded funding to 23 Continuums of Care (CoC) to implement a demonstration program to implement a promising new homelessness intervention- rapid re-housing (RRH) for homeless families. As part of the language authorizing the program, HUD was required to evaluate the program, “in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the rapid re-housing approach in addressing the needs of homeless families.” The basic research questions underpinning the evaluation included: what do rapid re-housing programs established under the demonstration look like, and what happens to households after they have received rapid re-housing. To address these questions, the evaluation included both a process evaluation, focused on describing the rapid re-housing programs established by each of the 23 grantees, and an outcomes study, with the primary goal of measuring return to shelter for families served through the demonstration program. Data analyzed included site visits, document review, HMIS data analysis of the majority of program participants, and survey data for approximately 200 families served by the program.

Documentation of the evaluation findings are presented in two parts. The first report, titled Rapid Re-Housing for Homeless Families Demonstration Programs Evaluation Report Part 1: How They Worked- Process Evaluation, describes the rapid re-housing programs established by each grantee, including the target population, the housing/service package offered, and the challenges faced in establishing the program. The second report, titled Rapid Re-Housing for Homeless Families Demonstration Programs Evaluation Report Part II: Demonstration Findings- Outcomes Evaluation presents the outcomes of households served through the program based on data collected from a cohort of 500 families enrolled in the demonstration program 12 months after the conclusion of their rapid re-housing assistance to assess the rate of return to shelter, housing mobility, income and employment, and indicators of family well-being.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Grantees varied greatly in all aspects of program implementation, including (1) structure and length of the housing subsidy, (2) breadth of the package of supportive services offered, (3) intensity of case management, and (4) target population.
  • Families had a low likelihood of returning to emergency shelter within the study period—a review of Homelessness Management Information System, or HMIS, data found that only 10 percent of households served experienced at least one episode of homelessness within 12 months of program exit.
  • Families were highly mobile following the end of program participation—76 percent of households moved at least once within the 12-month period following their exit from the RRHD program.

In addition to the two reports, the research team also developed three research briefs: 1) Rapid Re-Housing for Homeless Families: The Role of Centralized Intake, 2) Rapid Re-housing for Homeless Families: The Role of Assessment Tools, and 3) Rapid Re-Housing Demonstration: Characteristics and Subsequent Returns to Shelter for Families Served.