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Returning Home Initiative

Ending the Cycle of Homelessness and Criminal Justice Involvement through Supportive Housing

CSH’s Returning Home Initiative is based on the premise that supportive housing helps the thousands of people across the country trapped in a cycle of homelessness and criminal justice involvement. This subset of men and women often has chronic health conditions, including mental illness, substance use and other persistent health challenges and communities spend taxpayer dollars on services that bounce people between shelters, hospitals, jails and prisons—with limited positive human outcomes.

Jeffrey is thriving as part of the FUSE progam at St. Stephens in Hennepin County, MN

The Returning Home Initiative is designed to:

  • improve the lives of tenants
  • make more efficient use of public resources
  • align and coordinate public and private resources and policies to create supportive housing
  • generate cost offsets in crisis systems like jails and shelters
  • reduce recidivism and the use of costly emergency services

Impact and Outcomes

CSH’s FUSE program is showing real promise as part of the Returning Home Initiative:

  • A 39% reduction in the number of days in county jail for participants in the Hennepin County FUSE program.
  • A 50% reduction in the number of days in jail for participants in the New York FUSE program, compared to a comparison group.
  • A 43% reduction in the number of nights spent in shelter by participants in Hennepin County over the course of 22 months.
  • Preliminary findings from New York show that after 12 months, only 16% of the program group had any shelter admission compared to 98% of the comparison group.
  • Preliminary findings from New York show lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse—specifically injection drug use—among people in the program. In addition, the proportion of people with earnings and/or entitlements is much higher for people in the program.

Next Steps

CSH will build on the lessons learned and the emerging evidence to end the cycle of homelessness and incarceration for thousands more people. To that end, CSH will:

  • Sustain and institutionalize existing programs.
  • Expand the model to new jurisdictions.
  • Document the effectiveness of supportive housing for this population.

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