This initiative matches recently released prisoners with a place to stay

Every year, more than 600,000 people are released from prison in the US, the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. One of the biggest challenges faced by those getting out of prison is finding a roof over their heads, which can be especially difficult in ultra-expensive housing markets like the Bay Area.

The Homecoming Project is an initiative that offers an alternative to the usual listings on Craigslist by acting as a matchmaker between former prisoners and homeowners who have spare rooms, while at the same time paying for the tenant’s first six months of rent.

“Imagine you’ve been in prison for more than 10 years,” says Alex Busansky, president of Impact Justice, the organization behind the program. “And now, suddenly, you are being released. You have a day or two, maybe hours, to get ready for your release. And you’re given maybe $100, $200 when you go… There’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a homeless shelter or on the street, or in transitional housing.”

Inspired by the sharing economy, the organization targeted the problem by encouraging landlords with vacant rooms to house someone coming out of prison — similar to how Airbnb works, but for people who had most recently lived in a cell.

Before moving in together, the former inmate and the host — who are both screened for best matches — talk on the phone before moving in together, and they have the option to end the arrangement if it doesn’t work out.

Apart from creating connections between homeowners and former prisoners, the program also offers the newly released person a welcome kit with some basic supplies, while also providing them with training, as they look for jobs and ease back into society.

Since it began a couple of years ago in California’s Alameda County, the initiative has matched 24 former prisoners with local homeowners, out of which 17 people have finished the six-month program or have been able to move out earlier after finding employment.

Recently, the Homecoming Project won a $2.5 million award, through a competition called the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, which will help the program scale its impact and expand across the country.

Solution News Source

This initiative matches recently released prisoners with a place to stay

Every year, more than 600,000 people are released from prison in the US, the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. One of the biggest challenges faced by those getting out of prison is finding a roof over their heads, which can be especially difficult in ultra-expensive housing markets like the Bay Area.

The Homecoming Project is an initiative that offers an alternative to the usual listings on Craigslist by acting as a matchmaker between former prisoners and homeowners who have spare rooms, while at the same time paying for the tenant’s first six months of rent.

“Imagine you’ve been in prison for more than 10 years,” says Alex Busansky, president of Impact Justice, the organization behind the program. “And now, suddenly, you are being released. You have a day or two, maybe hours, to get ready for your release. And you’re given maybe $100, $200 when you go… There’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a homeless shelter or on the street, or in transitional housing.”

Inspired by the sharing economy, the organization targeted the problem by encouraging landlords with vacant rooms to house someone coming out of prison — similar to how Airbnb works, but for people who had most recently lived in a cell.

Before moving in together, the former inmate and the host — who are both screened for best matches — talk on the phone before moving in together, and they have the option to end the arrangement if it doesn’t work out.

Apart from creating connections between homeowners and former prisoners, the program also offers the newly released person a welcome kit with some basic supplies, while also providing them with training, as they look for jobs and ease back into society.

Since it began a couple of years ago in California’s Alameda County, the initiative has matched 24 former prisoners with local homeowners, out of which 17 people have finished the six-month program or have been able to move out earlier after finding employment.

Recently, the Homecoming Project won a $2.5 million award, through a competition called the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, which will help the program scale its impact and expand across the country.

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