United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.
Reentry In Focus     
October 4, 2012
Creating Strong, Successful Reentry Programs 

Annually, approximately 730,000 Federal and state prisoners return to communities and over 9 million pass through local jails.  For people held in state and federal prisons, the path to stability can be long and challenging. Beyond the employment barriers and stigma related to a criminal conviction, many do not have a stable home or a family support system when released.  These individuals are far more likely to become homeless in the days and weeks after release. Residing in shelters rather than a more stable environment has shown to increase the risk of re-incarceration. There is also a subset of individuals in the nation's prisons and jails that cycle between the criminal justice system and homelessness that incur high costs to themselves and public systems.    



The good news is there are solutions, especially for those with high-needs upon reentry who are at a severe risk of homelessness. Permanent supportive housing using a Housing First approach is a cost-effective solution for those experiencing or at most risk of chronic homelessness.  Comprehensive reentry planning is key to ensure that individuals released are connected to housing, health, and mainstream resources. Collaboration and coordination is pivotal to the success of the reentry plan and assisting individuals in navigating the many public and nonprofit support systems.    

Opening Doors
' Objective 9 is to "advance health and housing stability for people experiencing homelessness who have frequent contact with hospitals and criminal justice." Focusing on this high-risk population not only gets us closer to our goals in Opening Doors, it also offsets costs that can instead be invested in long-term solutions like affordable and supportive housing and mental and physical health care for those most in need. In this newsletter, we share our discussions with leaders among our federal partners and at the local level who are serving this population with innovative and comprehensive programs. Implementing comprehensive and culturally competent solutions for people who have formerly been incarcerated and are frequent users of jails and prisons is not only cost-effective, it saves lives.

Read more on Reentry In Focus 


Federal Efforts to Improve Reentry: The Federal Interagency Reentry Council 

Reentry Council focuses on collaboration and coordination of resources at Federal level, through National Reentry Resource Center 


The Federal Interagency Reentry Council serves as the first-ever Executive Branch council to focus specifically on coordinating and advancing effective reentry efforts for communities. Chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder, the Reentry Council includes involvement from 20 agencies that all have a stake in effectively integrating individuals back into communities after incarceration-including those who focus on employment, housing and homelessness services, mental health, physical health, and the criminal justice system. Since the first meeting in January 2011, the Reentry Council has been able to bring together leaders at the cabinet level to improve the ways federal systems work for this population, improve public understanding of reentry, and serve as a go-to resource through the National Reentry Resource Center. USICH spoke with Amy Solomon, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice, about the work of the Reentry Council and specifically about the ways we can improve our understanding of federal programs' interaction with people leaving incarceration. 


Read more from Amy Solomon about the Reentry Council 


Successful Reentry Program: The Fortune Society

USICH spoke with leaders from organizations that have
successfully implemented reentry programs. 


Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development

and Public Affairs at New York City's The Fortune Society described how his organization addresses issues of reentry from prison and/ or jail and works to promote alternatives to incarceration. He explains that the impetus for a one-stop shop model of holistic services is that "clients are involved in a web of agencies trying to get their lives together"; connecting clients to each part of this web in one place alleviates the complexity of doing all of this work on their own and leads to better outcomes. He also discusses the core elements of a successful reentry program, and ways other organizations can improve their services for the population of individuals reentering the community from incarceration.   


Read the interview with The Fortune Society


CSH's Returning Home Ohio Initiative

Urban Institute evaluation notes success in reducing recidivism, reincarceration for prisoners enrolled in initiative 


Returning Home Ohio (RHO) is a supportive housing pilot initiative led by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) and Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) aimed at preventing homelessness and reducing recidivism for individuals reentering Ohio's communities from state prisons.  The target population includes offenders released from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections who have histories of chronic homelessness or are at-risk of homelessness upon release. Priority is given to offenders who are likely to require supportive services in order to maintain housing. This includes, but is not limited to, offenders who have severe mental illnesses, addictions, and/or development disabilities. The Urban Institute has been working with CSH to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative since 2007 and released their final report in August 2012, which shows that RHO participants were significantly less likely to be rearrested and reincarcerated and accessed more behavioral health and health services than the control group. 


Learn more about Returning Home Ohio 


Read the Urban Institute evaluation 


News from our Federal Partners


Department of Housing and Urban Development 


January 2013 Point in Time and Housing Inventory Guidance Released 
HUD has released the data collection guidance for 2013 Point in Time (PIT) and Housing Inventory Count (HIC). All Continuums of Care (CoCs) are required to conduct a PIT and HIC count of all sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the last ten days of January 2013. As CoCs begin to organize their activities, staff should review this guidance and use it as a reference to ensure they are capturing the right information. There have been changes to the PIT/HIC this year, so this guidance is critical to ensure the count is conducted correctly. 

Continuum of Care Interim Rule Comment Period Extended 


The Continuum of Care Interim Rule posted on July 31, 2012 solicited public comment originally through October 1, 2012. That comment period has now been extended to November 16, 2012HUD will review all comments submitted and use the comments to consider changes for the Final Rule. When submitting comments, HUD strongly encourages communities to read the regulation carefully, consider any challenges or barriers that might arise when implementing this program at the local level, and include specific recommendations that will help ease the implementation burden in their comments.
Department of Veterans Affairs    


VA Announces Grant and Per Diem Awards Totaling $28 Million 

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced awardees of funds to implement transitional housing programs through VA's Grant and Per Diem program. The VA awarded $28.4 million among 38 projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Notably, 31 of 38 awardees committed to using the "Transition in Place" model, which allows Veterans to take over the lease of their unit instead of moving out when they have gained stability. This model creates continuity for Veterans as they stabilize their lives and ensures they have a permanent residence after receiving VA services in substance use disorder and mental health treatment. 

Table of Contents
The Issue: Reentry
Federal Efforts to Improve Reentry: The Federal Interagency Reentry Council
Successful Reentry Program: The Fortune Society
CSH's Returning Home Ohio Initiative
HUDs PIT Count and CoC Rule, VA's GPD Awards
USICH is Hiring
USICH Hiring Communications Specialist 
USICH is looking for a Communications Specialist to join our team in Washington, DC. The Communications Specialist serves as a public affairs specialist responsible for planning and implementing communications and media information programs regarding the work of the USICH and its initiatives as well as serves as the primary webmaster for the organization. Knowledge of the broad objectives of a national public affairs program and skill in working with the media and working knowledge of the newspapers, wire service, radio and television procedures is required. Applicants should possess excellent writing and editing skills, and skill in analyzing controversial and/or complex information and developing written material designed to reach a variety of constituencies.

Learn more and apply

Upcoming Events
NAEH Webinar: Including Youth in the Point in Time Count 
Thursday, October 4 
2:00 - 3:00 pm EDT 
Learn more


HUD Webinar: Implementing the HEARTH Act - The Emergency Solutions Grant Program 


Tuesday, October 16

3:30 - 4:30 pm EDT 

Learn more 


National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Annual Conference 


October 27-29 
Learn more 


Check Out More Upcoming Events on our Online Calendar  



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