As many of our partners and stakeholders may remember, homelessness among Virginia’s children and their families was decreasing until 2008 when the financial downturn struck. The result was high rates of unemployment and poverty that increased homelessness across the state. In response, Virginia released a plan in November 2010 to reduce homelessness by 15 percent by 2013. One of the main strategies of the plan was to increase rapid re‐housing through collaboration by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a new initiative sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation.
The goal of the initiative was to help Virginia communities improve the availability of affordable housing for children—and their families—experiencing homelessness by increasing the provision of rapid re‐housing. Rapid re‐housing is a model that views obtaining housing as a critical first step in helping families (and individuals) live productive lives. Once in housing, tailored services are delivered to ensure the family remains in housing and does not experience homelessness again.
VHDA is pleased to help spread the word that Virginia’s rapid re-housing initiative proves that, with a relatively small investment over a three-year period, a state can re-tool its family homelessness system and improve its effectiveness to significantly reduce homelessness. Here’s where you can read all the details about the project, and the supportive partnerships, that enabled Virginia to redesign its approach to family homelessness to one centered on rapid re-housing.