Students in the Community Engagement in Planning course, taught by Prof. Ivis Garcia, presented to Road Home staff about the Rapid Rehousing program.
The Road Home (TRH) is an organization providing services to homeless individuals and families in the Salt Lake City area. TRH is perhaps best known for their emergency shelters, but the organization also administers Rapid Rehousing subsidies, designed to help families experiencing homelessness transition back into stable housing. The Rapid Rehousing Program (RRHP) allows families to find housing in the private rental market and will cover the initial costs and several months of rent for clients. While the program has seen much success in helping homeless families find rental housing, some families still end up returning to emergency shelters. This report aims to determine why some families return to the shelter and what can be done to improve Rapid Rehousing and related services to reduce the occurrence of families returning to the shelter. First, we introduce the topic of homelessness and how it affects families both on the local and national levels. We then describe the methods used to collect qualitative data and the key findings of focus groups and interviews conducted with families experiencing homelessness, landlords, case managers and service providers. Finally, we identify recommendations for program improvements based on information gathered from families experiencing homelessness, landlords, and case managers and service providers. It is our hope that the information presented in this report can and will be used by TRH to improve the RRHP in a way that reduces the rate of families returning to their emergency shelters.