As part of my day job, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of getting to speak with communities across the nation about their successes with the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP).
HPRP was a $1.5 billion stimulus program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and distributed out to qualifying communities to provide services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, or those on the brink of homelessness. It was significant because it was a huge influx of money into the social services world at a time of great need, and also because it focused on two ways to address homelessness that were not emergency shelter-focused, but rather housing-, or as I like to think of it solutions-, focused. Instead of the traditional provision of a shelter bed for a night, HPRP provided the opportunities to either stop homelessness before it began by assisting individuals and families on the brink of eviction to be able to stay in their homes (homelessness prevention), or by immediately placing people who had become homeless straight back into housing and then following up with any additional needed services (rapid re-housing).
In college, I wrote my honors thesis on the implementation of HPRP within the region where my university was located—Lane County, Oregon—which received a total of $1,490,050 to coordinate HPRP services for the Lane County community. My research explored the question: Has the HPRP model effectively built long-term, sustainable solutions to homelessness in Lane County, Oregon? It assessed highlights and challenges of the program’s implementation and how they related to the program’s influence on future policy and long-term solutions to the homelessness epidemic, both locally and nationally.
Therefore, having this background with HPRP, I was excited to get to continue to explore the program as part of my current work. The communities I interviewed for success stories shared with me the specific ways HPRP affected the lives of actual individuals and families receiving the assistance. They also shared with me their best practices, and how they designed their service systems to most effectively get services to those in need.
Since I just wrapped up the final HPRP success story that will be posted on HUD’s website, I wanted to share the link to them here on my blog. I hope you’ll take a minute to read through some of the amazing work to end homelessness that is happening in communities across our nation. The complete list of HPRP success stories can be found here. However, listed below are a couple of personal favorites. Enjoy!
HPRP Helps a Mother of Four Find a Home and Employment in Missouri: This is a heartwarming story of perseverance from a woman and her children who found themselves homeless after domestic violence.
ACAM’s Houston-Based Collaborative Shares HPRP Best Practices: Homelessness prevention assistance can be really hard to target towards the right people. Many who receive homelessness prevention services may not have actually become homeless. This is why there is a push for more communities to focus on rapid re-housing, which targets individuals and families who are literally homeless, thereby making the greatest impact on homelessness in our communities. However, if done well, homelessness prevention can be a great tool. This story shows how one community used aggressive targeting to make sure they were providing homelessness prevention services to those most likely to become homeless without the assistance.
A City and County Combine HPRP Efforts to Better Serve their Community: I love to see collaboration between cities, states, nonprofits, for-profits, etc. It is key to getting the most bang for your buck, and for creating effective systems. This success story explores how a city and county can become working partners.
Ventura County Uses HPRP and HUD-VASH to Assist Homeless Veterans: There is a big push going on to end veterans homelessness by 2015, and although we still have a ways to go, the numbers are going down. This story shows how one community is working to put an end to this social wrong.
A Father and Son Find Permanent Housing and Supportive Services Through HPRP: This story about a father and son in Michigan shows how a homeless family can be given a fresh start with just a little support.