New Recommendations Released – Call for Fair Treatment for the Formerly Incarcerated

Today, CSH and 16 community partners released a set of recommendations to the New York City Supportive Housing Task Force focused squarely on the overwhelming need to ensure supportive housing for persons with criminal justice histories.

People reentering our communities from incarceration have been shortchanged in every New York State and City supportive housing agreement to date. In the face of incredible barriers, many who have served their time are confronted with a second punishment when they attempt to begin new lives but are denied access to affordable housing and the services they desperately need to stabilize. This sets off a chain of despair that often leads to homelessness, poverty and recidivism.

CSH and its partners know it doesn’t have to be this way. Of all the issues facing returning prisoners, the need to secure stable, affordable housing is one of the most essential, and supportive housing can and should play a crucial role.

Over 77,000 people were released from New York City Department of Corrections’ jails in FY 2015[1] and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently announced plan to add 15,000 units of supportive housing to the City provides an unparalleled opportunity to address the needs of the growing numbers of individuals hoping to rebound, rebuild and reestablish in our community.

These collaborative recommendations call for at least 15% of new supportive housing resources to be dedicated to individuals and families with criminal justice histories. CSH and its partners also recommend:

  • targeting criteria to ensure access to housing for people who need it the most
  • policies that bar discrimination and assure equal access to supportive housing for people with criminal justice histories
  • strategies to better develop the referral system for justice-involved populations
  • effective programming structure and service budget guidance

CSH and its partners believe that by including this population in the next supportive housing agreement, the City can expect reductions in recidivism, parole violations, shelter use, and use of crisis services, particularly among those who find their new home in supportive housing.

[1] NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations, Preliminary Fiscal 2015 Mayor's Management Report

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