I used to work in the Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building and spent a lot of time in local communities working with providers and local governments to implement rapid re-housing programs. About a year and a half ago I shifted to our policy team and the amount of time I spent in communities doing trainings decreased significantly. I spend much more time up on the Hill now—educating Congressional staff and analyzing federal programs and policies to try and improve the national response to homelessness. This week provided me with the opportunity to get back out in the field and talk to providers about a topic I am particularly passionate about—making sure that survivors of domestic violence are able to safely access the housing they need to move forward in their lives.
Yesterday, I presented at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness’ (CCEH’s) 10th Annual Training Institute in Meriden, CT. Approximately 300 attendees representing homeless service providers and government agencies from throughout Connecticut attend the training institute to learn about what is happening on the federal and state level as well as learn about successful strategies being implemented by other communities in the state.
I was joined in my session by Shakeita Boyd from the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) in Washington, DC and we presented on the basics of the rapid re-housing model, survivor specific adaptations to the model, examples of successful programs, and systems level considerations to make the homelessness assistance system more responsive and safe for survivors. At the start of the presentation, no one in the room was currently using rapid re-housing to serve survivors and, in fact, some programs were actively screening survivors out of their rapid re-housing programs. But, by the end of the presentation, I think we had them convinced: rapid re-housing is a successful model for ending homelessness for families and individuals and that it can be just as effective and intervention for survivors of domestic violence as non-survivor households when implemented properly.
The Alliance has a variety of resources available online that communities can use to begin to implement a rapid re-housing model for survivors, including a 45 minute video training, sample safety planning tools for staff and survivors, and case studies of successful programs. Additionally, DASH has a Housing Resource Center that has extensive online resources. The presentation Shakeita and I gave yesterday will be available on the CCEH website as well.