"Release to Rent" Returns Ex-Cons to the Community

Program run by the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul substantially reduces recidivism by finding housing for ex-prisoners.
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* Criminal Justice
* Prison

* Non-profit

* St. Louis - Missouri - US

April 27, 2011 - PRLog -- ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 21, 2011― About 600,000 people leave state and federal prisons across the country each year, and, of course, most need a job.  Unfortunately, while employment is critical to coming back into society, finding affordable housing is an even bigger problem for many ex-prisoners.  Their own families may not want them, private landlords often are leery of accepting them as tenants, and homeless shelters aren’t a viable option.  

To help address the issue, the St. Louis Council of the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) in 2003 launched “Release to Rent,” a comprehensive program to help ex-cons find affordable housing.  Since the program was introduced, here’s what’s happened:
•  A re-entry success rate of 85 percent after three years, versus a U.S. average of about  
  48 percent for the same time frame.
•  Whereas housing, feeding, clothing and medical care for an inmate in Missouri costs
   about $16,000 a year, Release to Rent costs about $7,500 per person per year.
•  Public safety is enhanced because fewer people return to a life of crime.

Another successful program is the “Kairos Outside Retreat and Continuous Support Group” for women who have a spouse, a relative or a friend in prison.  

“With the ongoing debate about the national budget and the cost of government programs, Release to Rent has been successful in returning people back to their communities and at a much lower cost than what many states spend just to keep people in prison,” said Carleen Reck, SSND, the director of the SVdP’s Criminal Justice Program.  

And Sr. Carleen should know:  Several former convicts work on the SVdP Criminal Justice Ministry staff.

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One of the oldest and most effective charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is a Catholic lay organization of more than 690,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and people living in poverty in 142 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 146,000 in 4,600 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. Providing more than $572 million in tangible and in-kind services, SVdP serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 644,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than 7 million service hours to those in need.
Source:Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Email:***@svdpusa.org Email Verified
Tags:Criminal Justice, Prison
Location:St. Louis - Missouri - United States
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