Homelessness is closely linked to incarceration, creating a traumatic, costly cycle that robs many people of a second chance.
A report by the John Howard Society states that as of 2021, 22% of all people entering prison are experiencing homelessness – this percentage is three times higher than it was in 2007. And, on the other side of their incarceration, 33% of people are released without a place to live.
People are leaving prison, a traumatizing environment, and then find themselves dealing with traumas and risks associated with homelessness. People who leave prison without the stability of safe housing are more likely to repeat the patterns and behaviours that led them to incarceration, which also creates more victims of crime. And the cycle continues.
At RJHO, we're working to end this cycle. The financial cost of an endless loop of homelessness and incarceration, the trauma born of instability that creates victims and fear, fuelling discrimination and apathy – it has to stop. We know that with housing and the right support, fewer people will return to prison. We can offer them the best opportunity to repair the harm they have caused and to successfully integrate into society, improving both their own lives and the communities where they live.
Since we opened our first house in 2020, half of RJHO’s residents have already moved to other desirable housing situations. Several former residents have moved from one of our houses to a place closer to their work, to live with companions, or to live independently. Read more about our impact.
Did you know?
Ex-prisoners are one of the only groups that landlords can openly and legally discriminate against. So even if they find an available, affordable place to live (which in the GTA becomes harder by the minute), they could be turned away.
That’s how much it costs, per year, for a prison to house an inmate in a men’s prison.
RJHO can provide a former prisoner with housing and community support for only $15,000 per year. Simply put, it is far more cost effective to invest in supporting ex-prisoners to remain offense-free, stay out of prison, and break the cycle of incarceration.
What does the future look like?
We have achieved and learned a lot in a short period of time. Now, we want to use those lessons and success to broaden our reach, scaling up our operations to help even more people. We are seeking funding to help us further develop our data security, financial reporting, communications, and staff resources – all while continuing to build on our mission to provide housing and support.
On the topic of support, we also intend to enhance our support system by bringing in integration workers with the skills to address significant mental health and addiction issues. Many of our residents will benefit from additional support due to the trauma they have experienced in their lives.
Let's have a conversation about how you or your group can help find safe, supportive and sustainable housing for an ex-prisoner in need.