The Rapid Access and Problem Solving (RAPS) is a pilot program that builds on best practices of addressing homelessness early and increases our community’s ability to more quickly intervene in a person’s episode of homelessness. It has been initially funded for up to four years, with an option to evaluate and continue the program after the first year.
The RAPS process involves connecting people with low service needs to 2-1-1 who can immediately assist to prevent people from entering the homeless response system altogether. People with moderate or high service needs will be connected to additional vulnerability assessments, which then helps determine the appropriate resources for their needs.
This initiative launched in April 2021 and has already made significant impacts assisting over 40 people. This post features recent success stories in which the RAPS program was able to help find a safe place for clients. Note that names and ages have been changed to honor privacy and ensure client safety.
One of our RAPS program access point locations, South Sacramento HART works with clients who are unsheltered in the South Sacramento area. One such client, Jeffrey, was living outside near a restaurant and frequented the Mack Road Partnership. At the Partnership Jeffrey connected with staff and began working with a community Navigator, eventually connecting with South Sacramento HART to end his homelessness. Jeffrey demonstrated tenacity and drive by attending weekly meetings with South Sac HART volunteers to identify housing goals, apply for available units, and view properties. When an available unit was identified Jeffrey was able to work through South Sac HART to apply for RAPS funding. With the assistance of RAPS he was able to quickly occupy the unit (the owner was even willing to let the participant move-in in advance as they were approved for RAPS). Through this collaborative partnership, Jeffrey found the financial assistance and support he needed for a smooth transition from the streets into housing. He currently remains in his stable housing and continues to work with community-based organizations to increase stability and access to support.
Some of our clients are not always homeless but at immediate risk of homelessness or in dangerous living situations that desperately need financial assistance to stabilize themselves. One such client was Jane who contacted 2-1-1 seeking help to escape her housing situation where she was in an abusive relationship. She needed assistance with getting released from the lease in which she shared with her abuser. At the time, Jane had left her housing to stay with a friend while her 10 year old child stayed with family. With support from the RAPS program, 2-1-1 connected her to our WEAVE Access Point where a housing locator was able to work closely with the client to apply for problem-solving funds that can help reconcile the expensive costs of early lease withdrawal, U-Haul rental, and other moving costs. In addition, Jane needed assistance to pay for the first month’s rent and a deposit fee for the new place she found. With the aid of RAPS and the WEAVE Access Point, Jane was liberated from an abusive relationship and relocated into safer housing. Jane’s story is not singular and uncommon. Many women and families are experiencing very similar and real circumstances. RAPS hopes to continue offering assistance to place many others like Jane into safer living environments.
If you are working with individuals experiencing homeless or people escaping domestic violence, we encourage you to learn more about this program and the selected access points. Please call 2-1-1 to be connected to one of these access points!