A new study, released by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earlier this year reconfirms that, despite their scarcity, long-term housing subsidies are the ideal when it comes to ending homelessness. In their absence, however, community-based rapid re-housing programs are unmatched as the most cost-effective, short-term intervention option.

“We already know that subsidies are best, but they aren’t available for most households in need. We need other crisis solutions and of those that currently exist, rapid re-housing is proven to be the quickest, most cost effective way to get families back into housing,” said Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

The findings are published in The Family Options Study: a large-scale examination around the effectiveness of housing and homeless assistance programs for families. According to HUD and its Office of Policy Development and Research, the study focused specifically on the impact of long-term housing subsidies and three common crisis intervention methods: community-based rapid re-housing, transitional housing and the usual care emergency shelter system.

For a thorough analysis of the study and its findings, see the Alliance online resource: Findings and Implications of the Family Options Study.

The Alliance draws the following conclusions from the study:

Rapid Re-Housing Is The Most Promising Of The Crisis Intervention Methods: According to the study, rapid re-housing stands out as the program capable of helping the greatest number of families exit homelessness in the shortest time possible. It’s also the least expensive.

Dollars Tied to Transitional Housing Need to Be Reconsidered: According to the study, crisis intervention methods like rapid re-housing perform as well as transitional housing, but at a significantly lower cost.

Affordable Housing Is Key To Ending Homelessness: The study lends further evidence to the critical need for programs that make housing affordable by citing evidence that housing subsidies are the most effective long-term solution to ending homelessness. Therefore, communities, states and the federal government should urgently prioritize the investment in affordable housing programs.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. As a leading voice on the issue of homelessness, the Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions; works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity; and provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates and educate the public and opinion leaders nationwide.

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