Toronto, October 12, 2022
Restorative Justice Housing Ontario (RJHO) announced today that it has leased a home in Toronto to be used as residence for women who are coming out of prison but have no place to live. This is the first home for women to be operated by RJHO, with three other residences for men.
Principal funding for the home was provided by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, a private philanthropic foundation which, since the onset of the pandemic, has concentrated on food insecurity, the street involved and those falling through the cracks.
The Executive Director of La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, James Booty, said, “We want to support RJHO’s initiative. Given the shortage of affordable housing or rental units in Toronto, and with the difficulties of having a criminal record, it is especially difficult for former inmates to find accommodation. But without stable housing, it is hard to find a job, open a bank account or become a member of a community. The evidence is overwhelming that recidivism increases dramatically without stable housing. RJHO provides this foundation.”
Jim Harbell, Chair of RJHO, replied, “We are grateful to La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso for the financial support and for the endorsement of our vision that this donation implies. It validates not only our work, but it underlines the importance of community building. We are so appreciative.”
Michelle Joseph, RJHO’s consultant for the Women’s Program said, “Finding a suitable home, where women can feel comfortable, was a huge first step for RJHO. While the basics of the program remain the same as for men, the experiences of women before, during and after incarceration are likely to present opportunities for learning how to adapt our experiences with the men’s programs. We look forward to inviting in our first residents and to learning from them.”
RJHO provides transitional, rent-geared-to-income housing for people who want to make a sincere effort to turn their lives around after leaving prison. It currently operates four homes in the Greater Toronto Area, three for men and the most recent one for women. The “Restorative Justice” part of the organization’s name recognizes that when a crime is committed the community is harmed. Whether a community feels less safe or fears for its property, its sense of well-being is damaged. Putting someone in prison does not restore the community to wholeness. Residents of RJHO homes are committed to giving back to society and the community and this can take many forms – from shovelling neighbours’ snow or taking out their garbage, to more formal ways such as volunteering at food banks or becoming a member of local religious congregations. (www.rjho.ca)
For more information contact:
Jim Harbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Joseph at Michelle.Joseph@unisonhcs.org