At Children's Law Center, we often come into contact with the Rapid Rehousing system through our housing conditions work. Many of the worst housing conditions cases we are referred are clients in rapid rehousing -- some who have been living in their units as little as a month before issues like rampant mold that triggers serious asthma exacerbations, water intrusions, or horrible mice infestations become apparent. CLC Senior Supervising Attorney Kathy Zeisel spoke with Mitch Ryals of Washington City Paper to share our conclusion, borne out by the Department of Human Services' own data, that rapid rehousing is broken: It is neither permanent housing nor a solution to the problem of homelessness experienced by countless DC families. She also shared our frustration with a rapid rehousing task force created by the DHS:
For task force attendees who often represent people on the receiving end of rapid rehousing’s flaws, the effort was a wasted opportunity.
“The conversation was not as robust as we had hoped in terms of thinking about the big picture about rapid rehousing being the only tool for families,” says Kathy Zeisel, a lawyer with the Children’s Law Center and a member of the task force. “It really isn’t the right tool for every family, and we were not really ever able to have that conversation as part of the task force.”