The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has urged public housing authorities across the country to adopt programs that enable some formerly incarcerated individuals to gain stability and reunite with family living in public housing. Research shows that this approach to re-entry strengthens families and enhances safety in communities.
A Second Chance for Precious
Precious is a 45-year old mother of three, who lost two of her daughters to the care of a relative because of a life of drug addiction. She had been incarcerated three different times on drug-related charges, serving a total of 6 years.
After her final prison term, Precious regained custody of her youngest daughter Ashanti, who had been in foster kinship care with a relative. Precious attended a drug rehabilitation program and took parenting class—all in an effort to show her resolve to parent her youngest child. The Fortune Society in NY helped her find a two-bedroom apartment in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights. Soon after, Precious was permanently reunited with her now five year old daughter who is currently in first-grade. “I feel blessed,” says Precious, for getting a second chance. She hopes next to continue her education (GED) and find a job.
“NYCHA’s new initiative will allow the individuals who are serious about transforming their lives and reentering society as law-abiding citizens to return to a home, where they can reestablish themselves with the support of family, and access to the employment assistance and social services they need to help them stay on the right path. I am confident that this new initiative will be successful and that these individuals will have a far greater chance of success.”
- New York State Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright
Family Re-entry Pilot Program at NYCHA: Stable Housing Is Key To Success
The Family Re-entry Pilot Program is a collaborative effort between the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The Vera Institute of Justice and the Corporation of Supportive Housing also are working with NYCHA in planning and developing the project. The program is designed for individuals who are leaving prison and/or jail to reunite with their families who live in NYCHA public housing; it also will provide them with re-entry services.
Participating providers (see list) will identify eligible participants before or after release from incarceration. Individuals will be fully assessed by the agency referring them, and among other things will need to demonstrate a strong motivation to change, and have goals to help them along the path of a successful re-entry. NYCHA will also do a thorough screening of the individual referred, and will also screen their families, before they are accepted into the program. Participants will receive temporary permission for up to two years to reside in the public housing household while they are in the program.
At the end of the two years, if the pilot participant successfully completes the requirements of the program, and meets their goals, his/her family can request that the participant become an addition to the NYCHA lease and household on a permanent basis.
Goals & Benefits
- Reunites families and strengthens NYCHA and surrounding communities
- Promotes public safety by providing a path for people to come out of the shadows and become stable, productive members of their community
- Prevents recently released individuals from entering the city’s homeless shelters
- Eases the burden on service resources, and is expected to reduce returns to incarceration.
- Individuals must be at least 16 years old.
- Individuals must have been released from a correctional facility within the last 3 years (a candidate may be identified and referred to the pilot prior to release). These facilities include jails, prisons, and juvenile correctional facilities.
- Individuals must want to live with family members who agree to participate and who currently live in a NYCHA apartment (Section 8 housing and certain tax-credit buildings are not eligible; for seniors-only housing, a candidate must meet the age requirements for senior housing).
- Individuals must be within a certain category of family relationship with the NYCHA tenant of record.
- Individuals must be willing to participate in intensive case management services for at least six months and can also receive services if they choose to participate.
- Individuals must be motivated to make a positive change in his/her life.
You are not eligible to participate in the program if:
- If you are a lifetime registered sex offender.
- If you have been convicted of producing methamphetamine in public housing.
- If you are currently engaged in illegal drug use or alcohol abuse that could threaten other residents’ or employees’ health and safety, and if you are not currently participating in a licensed drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.
- If you have been evicted from federally-assisted housing (public housing or Section 8, assisted through NYCHA or elsewhere) within the past three years for drug-related criminal activity, and you cannot demonstrate that you have successfully completed a licensed drug rehabilitation program or that the circumstances leading to your eviction no longer exist.
- If you are currently permanently excluded from NYCHA through the administrative termination of tenancy process.
To get started
If you and your family are interested in learning more about this program, please contact the Family Re-entry Pilot Program information line at 212-306-6024 or email email@example.com.
Participating Service Providers
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)
Ask for: Bradley Jacobs
Center for Community Alternatives (CCA)
Ask for: Housing Specialist
ComALERT at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office
Ask for: John Chaney
Exodus Transitional Community
Ask for: Contract Manager
Ask for: Nancy Lopez
Getting Out and Staying Out
Ask for: Paul Gutkowski
Harlem Community Justice Center
Ask for: Debbie Boar
Ask for: Director of Workforce Development
Ask for: DuWanda Young
Women’s Prison Association
Ask for: Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin