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Letter to the Editor, The Globe and Mail

Helping hand

December 4, 2023

Re “Nearly 20% of inmates homeless upon release from Ontario jails, data show” (Nov. 27): Thank you for highlighting the plight of recently released inmates. Like those who work tirelessly with inmates, striving for positive change and a reduction in recidivism, a group of us were so struck by the immense hurdles ex-prisoners encounter upon release that we felt compelled to take action.

In 2018, we formed a charity: Restorative Justice Housing Ontario. Our mission is to provide affordable, stable and supportive housing to individuals in transition after their recent release from prison.

We launched our first house for men in February, 2020, and as of November, RJHO operates four houses in the Greater Toronto Area, one of which is a women’s house. We now search for a landlord for our fifth.

We operate without government funding, supported by amazing donors and tremendous volunteers. While challenging, we remain focused on breaking the cycle of homelessness and incarceration, one person at a time.

Jim Harbell Reverend; chair, Restorative Justice Housing Ontario; Toronto