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Utilizing Prevention, Diversion and Rapid Exit Strategies to Reduce Homelessness


The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) developed two pieces of guidance to support the use of diversion and rapid exit as more targeted efforts to reduce inflow and demand for limited housing resources. The first guidance document establishes shared definitions of Homeless Prevention, Diversion and Rapid Exit. The second guidance document outlines a new strategy for supporting the effective implementation of the three models listed above.

The first guidance document, “Homeless Prevention, Diversion and Rapid Exit,” highlights the importance of establishing shared terminology among community partners and stakeholders to develop shared measures for success and outcomes. The guidance defines “Homeless Prevention,” “Diversion” and “Rapid Exit” to create a shared understanding of these models, followed by important considerations and practices regarding each defined item.

This guidance highlights that interventions should all be utilized as part of an integrated approach to help households avoid housing instability or homelessness, and that the strategies can be overlapped or combined with other service supports to achieve successful outcomes.

“It is the goal of these approaches to lessen trauma, identify and create new pathways to housing, reduce isolation, preserve scarce housing resources, and empower households to be partners in their housing plans.”

The second piece of guidance, “Adopting Housing Problem-Solving Approaches with Prevention, Diversion, and Rapid Exit Strategies” outlines examples for utilizing the guidance, identified as “housing-problem solving techniques,” within existing programs throughout the entire homeless service system. The techniques start with conversations that are intended to:

  1. Identify the household’s strengths and existing support networks;
  2. Explore safe housing options outside the homelessness services system, even if only temporary; and
  3. Connect the household to community supports and services.

“Adopting Housing Problem-Solving Approaches with Prevention, Diversion, and Rapid Exit Strategies” also identifies a variety of services and financial support that is available to or utilized for clients facing housing instability or homelessness.

For the outlined definitions and important practice considerations in “Homeless Prevention, Diversion and Rapid Exit,” click here. 

Click here to read “Adopting Housing Problem-Solving Approaches with Prevention, Diversion, and Rapid Exit Strategies.”


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