NYCHA RECEIVES $100,000 FEDERAL GRANT FOR YOUTH REENTRY SERVICES
Joint Initiative with Youth Represent Inc. to Reach 200+ Youth; Expand Opportunities to Employment, Education, and Housing
NEW YORK–– The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant under the new Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP) –– a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The grant will support the Youth Reentry Project, a collaboration between NYCHA and NYC-based non-profit organization Youth Represent Inc., to rehabilitate the lives of young housing residents with a criminal record.
The Youth Reentry Project, which will run over an 18-month period, will connect NYCHA residents ages 24 and younger who have been involved in the criminal justice system with legal services and counseling to help secure employment, education, and access to a host of critical services, including public benefits and loans that are crucial for stable and productive lives. NYCHA was one of 18 public housing authorities nationwide to receive this grant (Read HUD announcement here).
“NYCHA is committed to ensuring our residents have equal access to opportunities that contribute to their stability and success,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “By collaborating with partners like Youth Represent, we can connect our residents with the critical services they need to help improve their quality of life.”
“The Youth Reentry Project will offer the same combination of direct legal representation, Know Your Rights workshops, and capacity-building that define our successful community-lawyering model," said Youth Represent Executive Director Laurie Parise. "Our staff will be on-site at NYCHA developments across the five boroughs, meeting young people where they live and minimizing their legal barriers to successful reentry."
Know Your Rights workshops presented by Youth Represent educate youth, their families, NYCHA staff, and community members on their rights and responsibilities as they relate to the criminal justice system and reentry. The workshops are expected to reach approximately 250 youth and young adults and nearly all will be eligible for one-on-one counseling and RAP (Record of Arrest and Prosecution) sheet services, which include identifying and addressing errors on RAP sheets to minimize the lifetime stigma of a criminal record. This includes sealing convictions where possible and expunging juvenile delinquency adjudications.
Through this collaboration, young residents will also be connected to vocational, entrepreneurship, and financial capacity-building services and programs offered through NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability.
The Youth Reentry Project will serve current public housing resident youth (up to the age of 24) with a criminal record and/or a former household members (who are youth up to 24 years old) of current public housing residents who, but for their criminal record, would be living in public housing. Services will be coordinated through six community-based organizations in neighborhoods that are in particular need of legal services:
NYCHA is committed to developing successful reentry programs that serve public housing residents and their families. In 2013, the Authority launched a Family Reentry Pilot Program to enable individuals recently released from incarceration to reunite with their families living in public housing. NYCHA, in partnership with The Vera Institute, is conducting an evaluation of the program, which thus far has shown that family support, social services, and a safe place to call home are key to the success of these individuals.
About The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA):
The New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. To that end, NYCHA administers a Conventional Public Housing Program as well as a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. NYCHA also works with numerous partners to connect our residents to a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives. To fulfill our mission, NYCHA must preserve an aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of developments. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nycha
About Youth Represent, Inc.
Youth Represent was founded in 2006 to ensure that young people affected by the criminal justice system are afforded every opportunity to reclaim lives of dignity, self-fulfillment, and engagement in their communities. A single arrest or criminal conviction can prevent a young person from lifting themselves out of poverty. Through direct legal representation, advocacy, and working closely with community-based partners, Youth Represent removes legal barriers to jobs, education, housing, and stable family lives. For more information, visit http://www.youthrepresent.org/