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Assessing Housing Barriers. Donna Harrison Community Placement Coordinator Virginia Department of Corrections Welcome Home: Addressing Today’s Challenges in Homeless Services June 2, 2009. Community Release Unit. *Types of Releases *About 14,000 offenders were released last year (2008).

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assessing housing barriers

Assessing Housing Barriers

Donna Harrison

Community Placement Coordinator

Virginia Department of Corrections

Welcome Home: Addressing Today’s Challenges in Homeless Services

June 2, 2009

community release unit
Community Release Unit

*Types of Releases

*About 14,000 offenders were released last year (2008).

*Growing number of GTRD/no parole law cases being released

*Increased need for specialized caseloads

*Increase in number of homeless offenders being released

who are the homeless ex offenders
Who are the homeless ex-offenders?
  • Females/males
  • Young adults/elderly
  • Healthy/physically disabled
  • Substance Abusers
  • Mentally ill
  • Developmentally Disabled
  • Non-violent/violent
  • Sex offenders
why are ex offenders homeless
Why are ex-offenders homeless?
  • No family support
  • Financial burden for family
  • Lack of housing for ex-offenders directly from incarceration
  • Lack of alternative housing for violent/sex offenders
why are ex offenders homeless1
Why are ex-offenders homeless?
  • Limited financial resources to help pay for cost of housing
  • Offenders do not qualify for many housing assistance programs or low income housing
  • Limited housing resources for medically and/or mentally disabled offenders
additional barriers for medically and or mentally disabled offenders
Additional Barriers for medically and/or mentally disabled offenders
  • Decrease in assisted living facilities
  • Shrinking number of Medicaid/AG beds in assisted living facilities
  • Nursing homes moving towards rehab care and private pay
  • Criminal history
with supportive transitional housing
With supportive transitional housing…..
  • Communities are safer
  • Decrease in recidivism
  • Better coordination of medical and/or mental health care
  • Decrease in use of emergency services-hospital/ER visits
what is doc doing
What is DOC doing?
  • Education/vocational training
  • Treatment programs
  • Special transition housing units
  • Transition planning programs
  • Developing programs that focus on reintegrating families
what is doc doing1
What is DOC doing?
  • Separated units in DOC facilities based on special needs populations
  • Agreements with other state agencies to apply for identity documents and state and federal benefits pre-release
  • Jail re-entry programs
  • Specialized caseloads in CRU
successes positives
Successes/Positives
  • Serve as mentors or leaders in re-entry and transitional housing programs, and substance abuse treatment programs
  • Network with employers
  • Utilize job skills
  • Apply education

Give back to the community by being successful, active citizens and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

community collaboration
Community Collaboration

*Shelter Plus program

*Partnering with DSS, CSB, shelters, and private mental health providers

*Private housing providers partnerships with Probation & Parole Districts

things to consider
Things to Consider
  • Is the community safer if ex-offenders are excluded from housing services?
  • Can there be a pre-screening system created that will consider ex-offenders on a case-by-case basis?
  • Can there be a hotel/motel option?
  • Is it possible to establish more transitional housing programs for violent and non-violent offenders that are an extension of the shelter program?
  • Can there be replication of successful models of collaboration between DSS, CSB, Health departments, and P&P Districts?
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