Some people with mental illness and substance dependence cycle between homelessness and incarceration for months or years due to a national failure to invest adequately in mental health services and community-identified supports. CSH works collaboratively with housing and health service providers, landlords, and correctional systems to stop this cycle to get people into homes and on their journey to recovery.
THE PROBLEM: Overreliance on the correctional system comes from a lack of access to fair, humane, and equitable systems that provide the resources and supportive services that people need to thrive.
THE SOLUTION: We must move away from institutionalization and invest in delivering secure, stable, healthy housing and services to individuals who need our support. CSH collaborates with public systems, service providers, and landlords to break the cycle so they can have stable, thriving lives.
Housing Justice Requires Racial Equity
The data show that Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionally overrepresented in the institutional system. From policing to pretrial, jail and prison discharge planning process and reentry, systemic racism exists at every stage. CSH’s Racial Disparities and Disproportionality Index (RDDI) looks at a racial/and or ethnic group’s representation in institutional systems to examine the systematic differences between groups and geographies (disparities).
CSH Justice Initiatives
CSH has worked alongside communities for decades as they have constructed housing models to expand access to housing for people impacted by the carceral system. We have witnessed the barriers in action and how they increase public costs, harm historically marginalized communities, and prevent people from thriving.
We have also seen how communities become safer and stronger when people impacted by the justice system are welcomed with housing and the support they identified as necessary to succeed.
In 2006, CSH launched the Returning Home Initiative based on the premise that supportive housing can break the cycle between homelessness and criminal justice involvement for thousands of people. The initiative aims to prevent homelessness and reduce recidivism for individuals returning to communities from state prisons.
CSH's signature initiative, Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE), helps communities break the cycle of homelessness and crisis among individuals with complex medical and behavioral health challenges who are the highest users of emergency rooms, jails, shelters, clinics and other costly crisis services.
The Justice Involved Supportive Housing (JISH) provides service and operating funding for housing and service providers who serve individuals with histories of homelessness, and behavioral health needs cycling through the justice system.
Five-Year Study Shows Supportive Housing Reduces Jail Stays
In 2021, Urban Institute published results of a rigorous five-year program in Denver, CO, that deployed the Social Impact Bond (SIB) model to provide housing and support services for people involved in the justice system and experiencing long-term homelessness. At the end of the study, 77% of the more than 700 individuals in the intervention group remained stably housed and had notably reduced interactions with the justice system.
Cross Sector Partnership Supports Thriving Communities
A 2019-2020 CSH collaboration with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections revealed similar results. More than 400 people exiting Ohio's prisons received housing assistance and support. Only 7% of the program's tenants recidivated compared to 31.4% of those the state measured over the same period.
Breaking Down Silos Through Systems Collaboration
CSH's Speak Up! advocacy programs have helped raise the voice and wisdom of people with lived experiences of homelessness, justice involvement, and mental illness. HUD must consult and include people with lived experience as part of this six-month review process.
New York, NY, 10006