Housing: A Just, Humane and Effective Response to crime and its causes.
Plans to build a supportive living environment to help reintegrate people recently released from prison back into the community are underway at the John Howard Society Belleville; and you can help get us there!
Our primary objective is to provide residents with a stable, structured, and supervised independent living environment as they reintegrate back into the community.
Guided by the evidenced-based, Housing First Model (Goering et al., 2014), we will build and operate a residence that offers this at-risk population stable, long-term housing and wrap-around services. Similar projects have demonstrated that the provision of such services “increased long-term housing and enabled residents to build the autonomy, responsibility, and conventional social networks necessary for successful reintegration” (Pleggenkuhle, Huebner, and Kras, 2015; Aidala et al., 2013).
By establishing a safe and supportive living environment in Belleville, we will eliminate the threat of homelessness for this at-risk population and provide opportunities to work towards education and employment objectives, giving our fellow community members a chance to successfully rejoin and contribute to the social fabric of Quinte Region.
Because homelessness and incarceration are intimately linked. Research shows that being homeless not only increases an individual’s risk of incarceration but puts individuals at increased risk of re-incarceration after release (Metraux & Culhane, 2004; 2006). This is not surprising given that homelessness is a barrier to social assistance, educational programs, and employment opportunities; and there is overrepresentation of people with mental illness, substance use disorder, and other conditions exacerbated by instability, within the criminal justice system and among those who are homeless (John Howard Society of Ontario (JHSO), O’Grady, & Lafleur, 2016).
In a community like Belleville, with limited shelter beds and no treatment centres, people are even more likely to be released from prison directly to the street. At the John Howard Society, we know that people who live on the street, do so in survival mode; they have little time to focus on personal wellness and growth or contribute to society. We believe all members of our community deserve the opportunity to participate, meaningfully, in society and have the quality of life that comes with stable housing.
“Living at Ste. Anne for two years after I was released was the most valuable piece of support I have had so far. You can’t anticipate some of the challenges of reintegration, and the support staff helped me navigate them. I was able to save money, which would have been impossible on my own, and having my own space to cook, clean and make a home in, helped me start to feel normal again. The independent living at Ste. Anne was crucial for me.” – Former resident of JHS Affiliate Ste. Anne Residence (JHSO, O’Grady, & Lafleur, 2016)
At JHS Belleville, developing housing for our client population is a project many years in the making. We know, firsthand, the severely limited housing options for those exiting prison. Many of our clients must rely on private-sector housing, a sector not only rife with social exclusionary measures and discrimination, but one that has become increasingly competitive due to a pandemic-driven hot-housing market here in Quinte Region. For our clients to succeed in community reintegration, they need client-centred housing developed by an organization that understands the population and its needs.
As an organization who strives for Just, Humane, and Effective Responses to crime and its causes, we have knowledge and expertise to address the gap in housing for people exiting prison, but we can’t do it alone.
As a nonprofit organization, donations are invaluable to JHS Belleville as we work to get this housing project off the ground. Your contribution will help us to
- Secure a site
- Hire a design professional and contractor
- Obtain necessary permits
- Complete the build
- Furnish the living and shared spaces
- Ensure that all members of our community have a safe, stable, and supportive place to live
Thank you for your support; together we can make a difference in the lives of some of Quinte region’s most vulnerable community members.
The John Howard Society Board of Directors and Fundraising, Housing and Community Outreach Committee
Aidala, A. A., W. McAllister, M. Yomogida, and V. Shubert. (2013). Frequent Users Service Enhancement ‘FUSE’ Initiative: New York City FUSE II Evaluation Report. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Retrieved December 5, 2015, from: http://shnny.org/uploads/CSH-FUSEEvaluation.pdf
Goering, P. S. Veldhuizen, A. Watson, C. Adair, B. Kopp, E. Latimer, G. Nelson, E. MacNaughton, D. Streiner and T. Aubry. (2014). National At Home/Chez Soi Final Report. Calgary, AB: Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca
John Howard Society of Ontario, O’Grady, W., and Lafleur, R. (2016). Reintegration in Ontario: Practices, Priorities, and Effective Models. Retrieved from: https://johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Reintegration-in-Ontario-Final.pdf
Metraux, S., and D. P. Culhane. (2004). “Homeless Shelter use and Reincarceration following Prison Release.” Criminology & Public Policy, 3(2): 139- 160.
Metraux, S., and D. P. Culhane. (2006). “Recent Incarceration History among a Sheltered Homeless Population.” Crime & Delinquency, 52(3): 504-517.
Pleggenkuhle, B., B. M. Huebner, and K. R. Kras. (2015). “Solid Start: Supportive Housing, Social Support, and Reentry Transitions. Journal of Crime and Justice: 1-18