In 2006, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and CSH collaborated to establish Returning Home Ohio, (RHO) a supportive housing pilot serving offenders leaving state prison who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who have a behavioral health disorder. Under CSH oversight, RHO provides rental subsidy and voluntary supportive services through select nonprofit organizations in communities throughout the state of Ohio. RHO has proved to be a viable and powerful tool in reducing recidivism for persons with behavioral health disorders. An evaluation of the pilot by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center found that the program’s impact on the likelihood of reincarceration was reduced by 60% and rearrest was reduced by 40% compared to the control group. A two page summary of the research results is also available for review.
Building upon these positive results, ODRC requested CSH to expand its reach with RHO. Plans are underway to expand into one additional city and to increase the number of units in the cities currently operating the program. More expansion will take place in 2015! ODRC has indicated its interest in diversion using supportive housing. These expansion efforts will be a positive response to a common issue CSH hears across the state, that lack of housing is the number one issue with the reentry population.
CSH and ODRC also implemented a “moving on” process in Returning Home Ohio. Supportive housing case managers complete an initial assessment and then periodically asses tenants to evaluate theirs growth and recovery for moving on to housing with either no subsidy or a different subsidy, a higher level of care, or Home for Good. What is Home for Good? An innovative aspect of RHO, Home for Good is a rental assistance program for those tenants who require but are not likely to be eligible for any other rental subsidy. Resources from ODRC, CSH and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency fund Home for Good. But that’s not all. Leveraging that money, a broad stakeholder group supported expansion of Home For Good and successfully obtained a grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s office and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to expand Home for Good for two additional populations: those involved in a county level mental health court and those inappropriately placed in nursing homes who continue to live there because of the lack of other housing options. The expansion for these two additional populations is being piloted in Hamilton County, Cincinnati Ohio. CSH is grateful for the extraordinary partnership of ODRC, OHFA, the Attorney General’s office, and ODJFS in implementation of reentry supportive housing in Ohio.
Check back to csh.org in early 2014 for a Lessons Learned publication on the moving on project of Returning Home Ohio. And for more information, please contact Terri Power, Senior Program Manager.