Link maker

MacArthur Foundation launches effort to break the link between homelessness and incarceration

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Urban Institute announced the launch of the Just Home Project, a national program designed to advance community efforts to break the link between housing instability and incarceration by prison.

One in four people experienced periods of homelessness in the year prior to incarceration, and the problem has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will provide four communities (Charleston County, South Carolina; Minnehaha County, South Dakota; City and County of San Francisco, California; and Tulsa County, Oklahoma) with a grant to create a plan to deal with this crisis in their community with grant funding from MacArthur and technical assistance and coordination from the Urban Institute, according to a statement announcing the plan.

Tackling housing instability head-on is essential to reducing the overuse and overuse of prisons and systemic and structural racial inequalities, and “is an indispensable step in breaking the link between housing instability and incarceration,” said Laurie Garduque, director of criminal justice. at the MacArthur Foundation.

One in four people experienced periods of homelessness in the year prior to incarceration, and the problem has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Just Home Project began with a $5 million grant from MacArthur as part of its Equitable Recovery initiative. Of these funds, $3.2 million will directly support work in selected communities and $1.8 million will support the Urban Institute’s technical assistance work and its program coordination.

To help participating communities acquire or develop housing that meets the needs of those involved in justice, MacArthur plans to provide long-term loans totaling up to $15 million.

The four selected communities participate in the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative launched in 2015 to reduce the overall prison population as well as racial and ethnic disparities in prisons.

“As the four selected communities plan for pandemic recovery, the groundbreaking Just Home Project will ensure that housing for those involved in justice is part of that recovery. We are proud to provide support and coordination to local decision makers as they plan innovative strategies to break the cycle of incarceration instability,” said Kelly Walsh, senior policy associate at the Research to Action Lab and Justice Urban Policy Center.