Building Neighbors is a rapid re-housing program that helps families experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing as quickly as possible, then provides supportive services to help them sustain it. Since launching the program in early 2012, Housing Families First has increased the number of families it can serve annually by eight-fold.
Building Neighbors accompanies families through a well-established process that consistently enables over 90% of participants to move into permanent housing. Most importantly, 85% of these families do not return to homelessness within a year after leaving the program.
Here’s how rapid re-housing works. A family that is referred to Building Neighbors meets with a Family Housing Case Manager to complete a comprehensive assessment of their strengths, assets, needs, and barriers. Together, they develop a housing action plan that builds on the family’s unique strengths and addresses their barriers. The family then works with a Community Housing Navigator to identify and apply for safe, affordable rental housing that meets their needs.
Once approved for a lease, Housing Families First may provide financial assistance with deposits, utilities, and first month’s rent, if needed, so that the family can lease their new home. The family then works with their Case Manager – usually for about three to six months – to increase their income, address individual challenges, and connect to community resources so that they can maintain their housing.
What makes Building Neighbors so successful? It is based on a proven approach – Housing First. What is Housing First? Simply put, it is the idea that services to improve a family’s well-being are more effective when the family is in their own home. Our compassionate, professional staff and our collaboration with strong community partners are also keys to the program’s success.