News Flash

Office of Communications

Posted on: July 12, 2017

Rapid Rehousing Improves Lives, Provides National Model

housing with mountains

As a 48 year-old man with disabilities that make him unable to work, Marcus wishes his life was different.  He used to work as a chef and caterer in the Midwest before he moved to Maricopa County for a change. Unfortunately, in addition to the change in scenery, in 2015 he also developed Valley Fever and meningitis. His life spiraled downward as he spent 2 ½ months in the hospital. With his savings depleted, Marcus found himself at a homeless shelter.

While the quality of Marcus’ life could have continued its downward trend, he was able to secure permanent housing through a non-profit organization that placed him in his own apartment in July 2016. A caseworker helped him find furniture and apply for disability and other benefits. After receiving rental assistance for six months, Marcus now has secure housing and pays his own rent.

Marcus’ success story was made possible through a public-private partnership that has moved more than 250 people from emergency shelter into their own apartments.  He is just one of the participants in a rapid rehousing program that serves single adults.

A newly-released report proves rapid rehousing’s success. Funded by $2.5 million in government and philanthropic funds, a funders’ collaborative allowed the Maricopa County and Phoenix Industrial Development Authorities, Valley of the Sun United Way, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Arizona Community Foundation to address housing for single adults in a new way. The report shows that rapid rehousing costs less than anticipated and is less expensive than providing night-to-night solutions for the homeless population.

Housing costs did not rise above $7,200, and some people were housed and received additional supportive services for less than $5,000. Other studies estimate the cost of homelessness can be as high as $40,000 annually, so rapid rehousing is a proven, cost-effective solution.

“Many people run into unexpected emergencies that push them into homelessness,” said Bruce Liggett, Director of the Maricopa County Human Services Department. “This report confirms that our collaboration had an incredible impact in addressing homelessness and returning people to productive lives. Now, we need to continue it.”

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