Every year, tens of thousands of people experience homelessness upon reentering their communities from incarceration. Once homeless, they are more vulnerable to increased contact with the justice system, creating a revolving door of contact with law enforcement, courts, and incarceration that strains systems mainly designed to respond to emergencies. Indeed, people experiencing homelessness are 11 times more likely to be arrested than the general public, and people with criminal justice contact are 10 times more likely to experience homelessness.
Without connections to housing, homelessness is a common experience for people returning from prison and jail.
- The S. is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis that affects everyone.
- Stigma and collateral consequences of conviction limit access to what housing remains for people returning from incarceration, who experience this crisis more acutely than the general public.
- Lack of affordable housing is cited as the biggest barrier to reentry by reentry coordinators nationwide.
Safe, affordable housing, many people cycle between incarceration, hospitals, shelters, and the streets.
- The widespread criminalization of survival behaviors in many communities—such as sleeping outside– leaves people experiencing homelessness at greater risk of incarceration.
- Homelessness is often seen as a risk for missing court, resulting in jail stays for minor citations.
- Parole and probation violations increase without stable housing, also increasing people’s risk of returning to prison or jail.
- “Cycling” between incarceration, emergency hospitals, shelters, and other settings costs communities thousands of dollars per person and makes communities neither safer nor stronger.
Research shows that Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) disproportionately experience both homelessness and incarceration.
- Many state Departments of Corrections refer people to temporary settings (such as halfway houses and, transitional housing) after release that are not necessarily set up to address homelessness.
- The lack of permanent housing options (e., affordable housing, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing) for people leaving incarceration highlights the lack of connections among systems that can and should be working together to create permanent housing options.