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'To qualify for the rapid rehousing program, your barriers have to be pretty high'

When NBC 16 talked with Jackie Campbell last week, she described the barriers to housing. "Like they want to know where is your residence right now," she said. "Where are you living? Why are you unstable? Why are you homeless? How did you become homeless? They don't understand any of that stuff." (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - The local Rapid Rehousing Program helped the Campbell family of 5 move out of an SUV in a Walmart parking lot and into an apartment, just in time for Christmas.

But Jackie Campbell said it took months to find a new home.

Mia Masters runs the program. She admits sometimes it's not so rapid.

"It's a Catch-22," she said. "In order to qualify for the rapid rehousing program, your barriers have to be pretty high."

Masters said participants have to have a diagnosed disability and remain homeless for an extended period of time.

"We're not talking couch surfing," she said. "We're talking sleeping in a place not meant for habitation."

That includes the SUV where the Campbell family lived for four months before getting a home.

When NBC 16 talked with Jackie Campbell last week, she described the barriers to housing.

"Like they want to know where is your residence right now," she said. "Where are you living? Why are you unstable? Why are you homeless? How did you become homeless? They don't understand any of that stuff."

People enrolled in the program don't live rent free: 30 percent of their family income pays for rent.

The goal is for the family to be able to support themselves over time.

For example, once a family of five makes $2,370 monthly, they graduate the program.

Masters said the program has a 97 percent success rate.

Still, some landlords consider clients too risky.

But landlord Darren Stone with Jennings Group said the stigma for housing those from rapid rehousing and similar programs is blown out of proportion.

"The truth is, is that we frequently have less problems with that population than with the population in general," he said.

Stone said that's because he can work with places like rapid rehousing.

"When you're a landlord, you deal in the most intimate areas of someone's life, and for better or for worse," he said. "Boy if every tenant had an advocate we could talk with, you know it be much simpler."

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