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Leveraging available living spaces to house people reentering communities

Finding a better way home.

Before formerly incarcerated people can find jobs, address health problems, or learn new skills, they first need a safe and stable place to live. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against people leaving prison: many have no home to return to, and they face a housing market where affordable housing is scarce and potentially off-limits to someone with a criminal record. Our systems set returning citizens up to fail, at the very moment they need a warm welcome home.

We looked at the growth of the sharing economy and saw a promising framework that could be creatively adapted to meet this need. The Homecoming Project is a first-of-its-kind model that matches people recently released from prison with homeowners (eligible hosts) to provide safe and stable housing in the community. It’s a win-win: hosts receive a stipend, funneling additional income into communities who need it the most. Returnees are provided a safe, stable, and welcoming environment in which to begin to rebuild their lives.

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How it works:

The Homecoming Project provides a strong screening and matching process and offers ongoing support services to participants, including case management, training in effective communications, problem-solving, and decision-making and a monthly gift card for necessities. Hosts receive a monthly stipend, vetted housemates, training opportunities and regular coaching. We also help set clear agreements for hosts and participants, to ensure the experience is comfortable and rewarding for everyone involved.

The Homecoming Project fills critical gaps in available services — but it also bridges social divides by radically expanding the ways we welcome people back into our communities, and by rewriting the story of what it looks like to come home from prison. It’s transformative for participants who, in addition to receiving critically needed housing, are also provided genuine opportunities to rejoin the community with the support of their hosts. In many cases, participants and hosts have forged lasting relationships that continue long after the end of the program. 

With participants in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Los Angeles counties, the Homecoming Project has secured stable housing for more than 100 formerly incarcerated people to date. Every participant has left the program with stable housing of their own, and 95% have secured employment or enrolled in job training or educational programs. None have returned to prison. 

If you’re interested in joining the program, either as a host or participant, reach out to us!

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