In August of last year, all the shelter and housing providers in Greater Hartford came together to try and improve housing matching to a new kind of housing assistance. The new model, called Rapid ReHousing, is based on the idea that homeless services should work like a trampoline, quickly bouncing people back to housing as soon as they become homeless. In Greater Hartford, we have been lucky to have the leadership and focus of CHR (Community Health Resources) to help us tackle this challenge.
CHR is a comprehensive non-profit behavioral health care agency community providing a wide array of high quality mental health, substance use, supportive housing, and prevention and wellness services. But CHR has been more than a service provider in Greater Hartford, they have been a leader in collaboration and information sharing. CHR, in addition to the other services mentioned, also operates a couple of our local Rapid ReHousing programs. Through these programs, CHR is able to work with individuals and families in the shelters to provide rental assistance, case management services, and eliminate barriers to housing that can keep families in the shelter system. These Rapid ReHousing programs are an essential support in our local network of housing services, because they can move quickly, they can think creatively, and they can troubleshoot all kinds of challenges.
It’s one thing to operate a program, but in Greater Hartford, CHR provides so much more than that. In a community that is striving to prioritize limited resources, and share information between more than 10 shelters, matching people to housing resources is no small order. In our community, more than 30 dedicated staff from various agencies come together twice a month to talk about the program, and to match eligible households to this valuable support. CHR has been a leader not just in administering a program, but also in taking leadership in these meetings. As our community learns more about Rapid ReHousing, and strives to more quickly return households to permanent housing, CHR’s willingness to be creative has been essential.
The Rapid ReHousing team at CHR have been leaders in flexibility, working with Journey Home and our other community partners to figure out solutions. A housing matching meeting that used to be chaotic and long is now effective, concise, and focused on the needs of our clients.
By going above and beyond in improving our local housing matching process, by brainstorming solutions with all of our partners, and by taking a leadership role in organizing this new process, CHR has been a leader in the GH CAN community. Journey Home is happy to have them as a partners, and is looking forward to seeing what the future holds!