Housing Assistance Benefits Homeless Ex-Offenders

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), together with the Research and Data Analysis Division (RDA), has released a report titled Achieving Successful Community Re-Entry upon Release from Prison. The study examines a population of 12,202 ex-offenders released from a Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) facility in State Fiscal Year (SYF) 2010 and 2011. These individuals had received services from DSHS some time between July 1997 and June 2011. Newly released ex-offenders often struggle to obtain permanent housing and are likely to become involved in substance abuse activity. Key findings from this report demonstrate that homeless ex-offenders who received housing assistance had lower rates of criminal recidivism and higher rates of employment, Medicare coverage, and substance abuse treatment, in comparison to other formerly incarcerated homeless individuals. Results also indicate that ex-offender substance abusers who received housing assistance and Medicare coverage also had relatively high treatment penetration rates. Moreover, ex-offenders who had Medicare coverage were also less likely to be incarcerated again or have a felony conviction in a follow-up period. Overall, housing assistance plays a paramount role in successful community re-entry by offering ex-offenders an opportunity to obtain a more secure lifestyle.

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