WASHINGTON – The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless and Social Finance will receive nearly $1.3 million in new federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration Program, U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced Thursday.
“This grant will provide critical housing and support services to thousands of homeless Rhode Islanders who are struggling to get back up on their feet,” said Cicilline, who wrote a letter of support and advocated for the grant with HUD secretary Julian Castro. “While this grant will help address the problem of chronic homelessness in Rhode Island, we must do more to make sure we help Rhode Islanders who have fallen on hard times. No one should ever have to live on the streets or worry about where their next meal will come from or face mental health and substance abuse issues alone.”
The funding will help to provide housing resources and behavioral health services to chronically homeless Rhode Islanders caught in a rotation of incarceration.
“When people can’t find an affordable place to live and end up cycling through the corrections system, it raises taxpayer costs, and does the individual no good,” said Whitehouse, who also wrote a letter of support for the grant. “This federal grant will connect those in and out of the system with housing and services to help them stay on stable and successful footing.”
“This new federal funding will help address chronic homelessness among Rhode Island’s ex-offender population, making our state safer and bringing down costs over time,” said Raimondo in a statement. “The grant will strengthen important efforts to provide housing supports, behavioral health treatment and other services that will reduce recidivism. I want to thank our agency directors responsible for corrections, behavioral health, and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as our state’s Housing Resources Commission, for joining me in sending a letter of support for this application – and I applaud the congressional delegation for their work to help bring these funds to our state.”
The grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Justice through a HUD/DOJ partnership, the Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration. The program is designed to help create a smooth transition for ex-offenders back into society, and is a public-private partnership allowing state and local governments to develop policy solutions at no risk to taxpayers.
Research has shown a correlation between homelessness and incarceration, according to the release announcing the grant. Twenty percent of former inmates will become homeless upon release, said the release, while at the same time 25 percent of the homeless have a history of being incarcerated.