In many communities throughout Connecticut, a diverse group of service providers, advocates, and private and public funders have partnered with the state’s CSH field office to target men and women who cycle in and out of the homeless service and corrections systems for placement in supportive housing. Sophisticated data analyses and aggressive engagement on the ground have enabled communities to reach the most vulnerable and highest cost clients and use housing-based solutions to reduce recidivism, improve individual outcomes, and increase public safety and public health.
The initiative, born from CSH’s Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE), is now uniquely positioned to grow into phase two of FUSE – The CT Collaborative on Reentry (CCR). The CCR is the supportive housing component under Governor Dannel Malloy’s recently launched Second Chance Society, an initiative aimed at assisting ex-offenders re-entering society and providing opportunities for success and greater chances at employment. Governor Malloy’s Second Chance Society demonstrates a renewed commitment to reentry supportive housing by proposing an increase from 100 units to 400 units over the next several years.
The announcement came shortly after CSH’s Reentry Leadership Forum, where leaders from CT’s Dept. of Corrections (DOC) had opportunities to hear about innovative approaches to reentry housing from peers in Ohio, New York, and New England. The CSH field office subsequently invited newly confirmed DOC Commissioner Scott Semple to join Columbus House, the Chrysalis Center, and the Partnership for Strong Communities to tour apartments of people housed under the FUSE initiative, and to hear directly from tenants how FUSE has improved their lives.
The site visits also allowed Commissioner Semple to learn from FUSE program staff and case managers what successes and on-the-ground challenges they’ve faced in implementing FUSE. The Commissioner’s experience as a warden provides him with a strong understanding of the need to enhance engagement among offenders preparing for release and the need to acquaint or reacquaint people with programs that take partnered approaches to increasing employability and, in effect, housing stability and reduced recidivism. Equipped with an understanding of the problem, Commissioner Semple also came to the table ready to propose solutions:
- Pursuing in-reach models that allow case managers and supervising officers to coordinate case plans during pre-release;
- Transforming a state correctional facility into a Reintegration Center that provides those just released from prison or jail with the resources and options they need to be held accountable for their own successful reentry into the community.
To learn more about CSH’s FUSE program, click here.
To sign up to receive CSH updates and news about work happening in New England to further supportive housing solutions, click here.