For At-Risk Youth in Philadelphia, ‘Rapid Rehousing’ Is Anything But

By Next City, | May 19, 2022

Stoneleigh Fellow Steve Volk covers the challenges that young adults can experience when seeking stable housing in Next City.

By January of last year, then 19-year-old Miracle had spent months sleeping on friends’ couches, Philadelphia’s SEPTA lines and in abandoned cars, trying to find safe places to rest. When she found out she’d been accepted by a government-sponsored rapid rehousing program, her spirits rose. She made contact with a mentoring program for young writers, worked two jobs and started making plans.

“I feel great,” she said then, “like my life is really coming together.”

The program name, Rapid Rehousing, suggests a greyhound, racing at top speed, fueling Miracle’s hopes. But rapid rehousing runs on just two legs. Miracle remained stuck in unsafe rooming arrangements and whatever temporary shelters she could find as days, weeks and months passed, until finally she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d make it at all.

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