Strengthening Families and CommunitiesRestoring Community and Family Bonds


Most cities bar formerly incarcerated people from public housing—even when their families reside there. This puts a strain on families, deprives men and women returning home from prison of the foundation for a stable life, and has a slew of social costs when people become homeless and unemployed, relapse, or are re-incarcerated.

With an array of partners, our pilot program in New York City is reuniting 150 carefully screened formerly incarcerated people with their families in public housing. It could be a model for smart, safe, cost-effective housing policies nationwide. Similarly, work with the Housing Authority in New Orleans to replace blanket prohibitions with individualized assessments is providing access to publicly funded housing and employment assistance to some of the people who need it most.

Related Work

Opening Doors

How to develop reentry programs using examples from public housing authorities

A growing number of public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country are implementing reentry programs and changing their policies to help formerly incarcerated people secure housing. This report highlights 11 PHAs doing this work and examines best practices and lessons learned from their experiences—including key factors of program design and ...

  • John Bae, Kate Finley, Margaret diZerega
September 29, 2017

Report to the New York City Housing Authority

Applying and Lifting Permanent Exclusions for Criminal Conduct

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is conducting an internal review of its policies related to permanent exclusions for criminal conduct on NYCHA property.  Permanent exclusion (PE) occurs when a NYCHA tenant—rather than risk eviction—enters into a stipulation that those associated with the resident who have engaged in non-desirable behavi...

  • Margaret diZerega, John Bae
February 08, 2017

Coming Home

An Evaluation of the New York City Housing Authority’s Family Reentry Pilot Program

Public housing authorities across the nation historically have barred many with criminal records from public housing residency. However, given evidence of the critical role stable housing and family reunification plays for people coming back to their communities from incarceration, some housing authorities are rethinking their practices. This repor...

  • John Bae, Margaret diZerega, Jacob Kang-Brown, Ryan Shanahan, Ram Subramanian
November 14, 2016

In New Orleans, the housing authority is helping people with criminal convictions rejoin families

Think about a particularly trying time in your life. Now think about not having a place to stay or family to support you during this time of hardship. Would you have made it?  For people recently convicted of a crime, having a place to stay and the support of family are often the most influential factors in their success. But for decades, housi...

Blog Post
  • Mathilde  Laisne
    Mathilde Laisne
March 30, 2016
Blog Post