As tens of thousands of people leave prisons each year in California, Impact Justice’s just-launched Homecoming Project has begun to offer homes and hope to people eager to rejoin their families their communities and the economy. People like KC Matthews.
“If not for the Homecoming Project, I would have had to go back to Los Angeles,” says Matthews. “I didn’t want to go back because that’s how I got into trouble. I knew I had to change my environment to be successful.”
The Homecoming Project helped him find a room in a home before being released from prison in August 2018. Having a safe and stable place to call home when he came out has made all the difference to his success. Within two weeks of moving into his host’s home in Oakland, California, Matthews obtained his Social Security and identification card, and landed a job as a maintenance worker for a local housing nonprofit. He is now taking classes and working towards getting his drivers license so he can drive the company van.
The Homecoming Project is an innovative pilot program, now underway in Alameda County, that taps into underutilized housing resources. Just as Airbnb enables people to monetize their extra living spaces, the Homecoming Project provides subsidies to homeowners in exchange for renting an extra room to people returning home from lengthy prison terms. We work with faith and community organizations to recruit and train hosts, and partner with service organizations to offer support and wrap-around services for returnees.
From hosts to returnees to entire communities, we all benefit from the program. Hosts enjoy additional income while helping to rebuild lives, reunite families, and strengthen communities. Returnees gain a safe and stable environment to live in, greatly increasing their chances of obtaining employment, gaining new skills, and reducing the likelihood of returning to prison. In addition, our communities will see reductions in homelessness and increases in public safety, because a stable home is a key element that prevents recidivism.
Impact Justice is excited to help support the homecoming of returnees like KC Matthews. If you are interested in this program, or in becoming a host, please contact Terah Lawyer at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.