Innovative Programs Are Providing Public Policy Solutions
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) recently used its blog to highlight innovative programs across the country that are ending the cycle of homelessness, prison and jail. The National Alliance to End Homelessness highlighted this work at its national conference last month in a workshop entitled, “Crossing Hard Thresholds: Access to Housing From Jails to Prison.”
By now, we have all read and/or seen firsthand that individuals who do not have stable housing when they exit jail or prison are more likely to re-offend and cycle for years between jails, prison, emergency psychcare, and homelessness. In fact, they are “seven times more likely to re-offend.”
During the session, John Fallon with the Corporation for Supportive Housing “shared a real case study of Richard, a 42-year old who had spent the previous 21 years cycling between jails, mental health centers, and homelessness at an average annual cost of $72,910.” And this scenario is repeated every day across the country.
So what can be done to break the cycle and save tens of thousands of dollars? The workshop featured presenters highlighting innovative solutions including:
- A re-entry problem solving court that links former prisoners with supportive housing;
- An initiative that connects supportive housing with people living in homeless encampments or exiting state prisons and partners with a local public housing authority; and
- A supportive housing development for former prisoners, including some who have experienced homelessness, that successfully partners with the parole office.
USICH encourages other communities across the country to think about adopting similar programs as this issue will continue to be in the forefront as communities face state and local budget cuts and prison and jail overcrowding concerns.
Click here to read the USICH blog post and more about these innovative solutions.