“Since 2018, Impact Justice, an Oakland-based nonprofit, has sought to provide some of those resources for people returning home through their innovative Homecoming Project.
The Homecoming Project—loosely inspired by Airbnb—pairs individuals returning home from prison with homeowners renting out a spare bedroom or studio space in their home. Impact Justice pays these hosts for six months, giving formerly incarcerated participants a safe place to call home and an opportunity to start rebuilding their lives without worrying about the burden of paying rent. Homecoming Project Director Bernadette Butler says that the program provides an alternative to transitional housing options that often require boarders to abide by rules and regulations that sabotage the goal of establishing their independence. Those regulations can include mandatory workshops that may conflict with work or school hours or stipulations around not having visitors.
“‘Being isolated and being 50 miles away from your loved ones and then them not being able to visit you,’ said Butler, ‘that is the exact opposite of what we aim to do at the Homecoming Project.'”