GRANT WINNER | RESIDENT SERVICES AND SUPPORT

Impact Justice

California

The Homecoming Project pairs individuals coming home after lengthy prison sentences with homeowners who have a spare room and a desire to help someone make a fresh start. The goal for every participant is a healthy, self-supported, and community-oriented lifestyle.

A group of people posing for a picture

Impact Justice imagines, builds, and scales innovations that advance safety, justice, and opportunity by creating boundary-breaking programs that are changing expectations about what people can accomplish together.

Inspired by the sharing economy, The Homecoming Project is one such program, offering a unique model of re-entry housing.

A woman and a man waving and smiling
Host Terri with KC, one of the first participants to be housed through The Homecoming Project. Credit: Barbara Kinney/The Emerson Collective

THE CHALLENGE

Over 600,000 people leave prison every year, many without a viable roadmap to re-enter society successfully. Because of barriers to finding affordable housing and employment – and meeting basic needs – formerly incarcerated people are almost 10 times more likely to become homeless than the general population. This trend disproportionately affects people of color due to inequities in the legal system and other systemic forms of racism.
 
With nowhere to go when they leave prison, too many men and women remain cut off from society. That disconnect perpetuates stigma, fear and discrimination.

SOLUTION: IMPACT JUSTICE

The Homecoming Project employs an individualized matching process that pairs people returning from prison with homeowners who have a spare bedroom and the inclination to be part of someone’s successful re-entry. Returnees receive six months of rent-free housing while community navigators help them access an array of services from local nonprofits, including support with enrolling in job training, managing medical appointments, and obtaining ID cards.

Watch the video

“We built a re‑entry housing program and along the way discovered we were also building relationships.”
― Alex Busansky, Impact Justice

For hosts, who are predominantly people of color from low- to moderate-income households, the cash stipend they receive provides extra income and keeps capital in the local community. With these additional dollars, local homeowners and their communities are more resilient in the face of rising costs and better equipped to remain in their homes despite pressures of gentrification.

Two men and a woman standing in a kitchen talking while she drinks out of a mug
Homecoming Project participant Scott, left, at the home where he rents a room from host Tamiko, right. Scott is the fourth Homecoming Project participant Tamiko has welcomed into her home. In the center is Tamiko's partner, Joe.

IMPACT

As of September 2022, 100% of The Homecoming Project’s more than 80 participants have successfully returned to their communities and begun rebuilding their lives. The Homecoming Project’s success will change how we think about formerly incarcerated people and how much they can contribute to our communities.  

The Homecoming Project is expanding beyond Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in the Bay Area to Los Angeles and other parts of California. The program aims to be an inspiration and model for communities across the country by sharing tools and insights on partnering with community members and organizations and by matching homeowners and participants— all toward creating a better way home for people leaving prison.

Rewriting Re-Entry

Led by Impact Justice, the Homecoming Project pairs people leaving prison with homeowners who have a spare bedroom and a desire to be part of someone’s successful re-entry. Currently underway in the Bay Area, the innovation is expanding to Los Angeles.

Remote video URL

Meet the Grant Winners

A nationwide competition for the top housing innovations unveiled six winning ideas, from driving rural homeownership to radically capturing carbon.