Rapid ReHousing is NOT a Crisis Service

Three times just this week I have heard Rapid ReHousing referred to as a crisis service, or that the role of support staff in Rapid ReHousing is to respond to crises.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Big fat no.

The supports offered in Rapid ReHousing are case management services offered through progressive engagement. Let us break this down:

  1. Case management is case management. Case management is VERY DIFFERENT from a crisis service or crisis response.
  2. Crisis response is crisis response. Crisis responses is VERY DIFFERENT from a case management service.
  3. Progressive engagement means supports are increased only when there is evidence that the program participant is going to need greater assistance on any particular element of their life our housing stability. While intensity can increase, it should also decrease as the person begins to exercise greater independence and personal advocacy.

If anyone treats Rapid ReHousing as a crisis response they are clearly not seeing this important strategy as a housing and support intervention. This last word is important – intervention…to engage in a manner so as to modify behaviour or hinder detrimental events. Rapid ReHousing is about engaging as appropriate to support the process of housing maintenance in a sustainable fashion, while concurrently connecting the individual/family to other mainstream and community resources – as they determine to be advantageous for their housing and life stability.

If engagement only occurs in moments of crisis, that is nothing more than a horseshit, superhero social work adrenaline rush wherein the supports are not really supports. They are “saviour”.

If you want to set up households for long-term supports and success in housing then Rapid ReHousing has to adhere to a consistent, measurable, replicable model of case management intervention. Any other approach is just results through stupid luck, or else clear evidence that the people being housed through the intervention are NOT the right people…that you are either housing people that could have housed themselves, or else housing people that have needs far greater than what can be supported through Rapid ReHousing.

Do the right thing. Do a case management support intervention with your Rapid ReHousing program.

Iain De Jong

About Iain De Jong

2 Responses to “Rapid ReHousing is NOT a Crisis Service”

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  1. Theresa Slusher says:

    Guilty! I’ve got a presentation on affordable housing I created which I call a 101 level introduction to the subject. I try to convey the spectrum of market rate housing, affordable housing, subsidized housing and rehousing programs for people experiencing homelessness. I use the term crisis response when I speak of rehousing programs or “homeless assistance” because I want people to understand that these programs do not end poverty, they pop people back into housing. I also indicate the rent term and services are tailored to the household’s need. In this case we aren’t really saying different things. Homelessness is a crisis that makes a household eligible for certain interventions. But the case management piece should not focus on crisis resolution, but should support a household on a path to be able to maintain the housing.
    Supportive housing case management is a whole other comment thread or blog post….IMHOP
    Love your blog, just thought I’d share my thoughts on this.

  2. Jeff Spring says:

    I agree with Theresa; insisting that rapid rehousing cannot be a “crisis response” seems wholly misleading. Sure, the case management offered should be offered under the model of progressive engagement so that only the necessary support is provided. But to say that rapidly rehousing someone can’t be a housing-first response to the crisis of being unsheltered begs for a new definition of “crisis”.