The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has urged public housing authorities across the country to explore programs that enable some formerly incarcerated individuals to gain stability and reunite with family living in public housing. Research shows that this re-entry approach 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 with the New York City Housing Authority and the NYC Department of Homeless Services. The Vera Institute of Justice and the Corporation of Supportive Housing are working with NYCHA in the planning and development of the project. The program is designed to reunite a pilot group of 150 individuals leaving prison and/or jail with their families who live in NYCHA public housing and to provide them with re-entry services. Eligible participants are identified by a participating provider pre- or post-release.
150 selected participants will be given a two-year temporary permission to reside in the household while they are enrolled in the program. At the end of two years, if the pilot participant successfully completes the requirements of the program, his/her family can request that he/she be added to the NYCHA 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 reduces returns to incarceration
- Individuals must be at least 16 years old.
- 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, you must meet the age requirements for senior housing).
- Individuals must have been released from a correctional facility within the last 18 months (you may be identified and referred to the pilot prior to release). These facilities include jails, prisons, and juvenile correctional facilities.
- Individuals must be willing to participate in intensive case management services for 6-12 months. Services will also be available to family members if they choose to participate.
- Individuals must be motivated to make a positive change in your life.
- Individuals must be within a certain category of family relationship with the NYCHA tenant of record.
You are not eligible to participate in the program if:
- Your criminal record includes sex offense convictions (certain types of statutory rape may be excluded).
- You have been convicted of producing methamphetamine in public housing.
- You are currently engaged in illegal drug use or alcohol abuse that could threaten other residents’ or employees’ health and safety, and you are not participating in a rehabilitation program.
- You have been evicted from federally-assisted housing within the last three years for drug-related crimes and have not completed a rehabilitation program or cannot demonstrate changed circumstances.
- You have already been 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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