Last year, CSH convened a Reentry Housing Workgroup to develop a reentry housing platform with recommendations for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Much progress has been made in improving access to housing for those leaving criminal justice facilities, but these advances are not nearly enough to address the full scope of the need faced by those exiting our jails and prisons.
Today, in an open letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Mayor, CSH and its partners released the reentry housing platform including statewide recommendations. These recommendations are intended to strengthen City and State efforts to address the housing needs of persons with criminal justice histories. As amplified by the platform, all persons with a criminal justice-involved history deserve fair access, consistent with public safety, to supportive, affordable and market-rate housing in order to reinforce their successful reentry and reduce the risk of their reincarceration.
The platform highlights some of the major progress made at the State and City level this year, but recognizes there are still many challenges that must be addressed.
- There is not nearly enough supportive housing to meet the record need and the current City-State supportive housing initiative, the New York/New York III Agreement, is expiring this year. The Governor and Mayor should immediately finalize a new statewide supportive housing agreement that dedicates a portion of new units to people with criminal justice histories.
- The City and State do not have a long-term plan for developing alternatives to unsafe “three-quarter houses” and it is unclear how residents who are eligible will access supportive housing. We recommend a three-step approach to 1) improve safety and program standards in existing three-quarter houses; 2) close houses that cannot meet basic safety standards; and 3) implement realistic policies to reduce demand on three-quarter houses over the long-term.
- Housing discrimination in affordable and market-rate housing is still a major issue. Because affordable housing is scarce, people with criminal records are often the first to be shut out, even though housing them is a cost-effective way to accomplish the same public safety goals driving their exclusion. The State and City should adopt policy changes and include a requirement in regulatory agreements with all government-funded projects to prevent discrimination based on criminal justice history.
For more information, contact: Kristin Miller, New York Program Director, CSH, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.986.2966 x231