Contemporary Models of Equal Access to Housing The Family Reentry Pilot Program

Kerner Commission Series Housing Full
"With greater care towards adequate housing for individuals who have been historically targeted by punitive policies, the possibilities for equal access to housing are a reality."

Given the significant barriers to reentry for formerly incarcerated people—which leads to high personal and economic instability and a risk of recidivism—Vera and its partners in the NYCHA pilot program understood how vital it is for a person to connect with family or a support system in order to successfully reenter their community. The Family Reentry Pilot Program proved to be successful and in December 2016, it became a permanent program. The program aims to link access to housing with reentry services in an 18-month model where a formerly incarcerated individual can temporary live with their family members. Upon completion of the program, the person can then join their family’s lease. Each individual is screened for housing assistance and provided case management services from reentry service providers. John Bae, former program associate at Vera who worked closely on the project, reported that since its inception 127 people have successfully united with their families in public housing, and only four people have been convicted of a new offense.

As Vera continues to guide and work with NYCHA on this program, possibilities for expansion have surfaced. New York State launched its own, similar program, in attempts to reunite formerly incarcerated individuals with their families upstate. With greater care towards adequate housing for individuals who have been historically targeted by punitive policies, the possibilities for equal access to housing are a reality as Vera and other organizations continue to push for policies the Kerner Commission once introduced 50 years ago.