Impact Justice’s Homecoming Project Receives $2.5 Million Award to Provide Innovative Reentry Housing Services
Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge by Enterprise Community Partners and Wells Fargo names six winners out of nearly 900 applications from across the U.S.
OAKLAND, CA – Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and Wells Fargo today named Impact Justice one of the six winners of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, a nationwide competition that began in January 2020 to find the most innovative and scalable solutions to increase housing affordability across the U.S. The six winning organizations will each receive $2 million in grants and two years of technical assistance valued at $500,000, facilitated by Enterprise, to realize their innovative concepts.
Impact Justice is a national innovation and research center advancing innovative solutions to our broken criminal justice system. It launched the Homecoming Project in August 2018 as a first-of-its-kind pilot responding to the critical need for affordable housing and supportive services among individuals returning to Alameda County, California, who have been sentenced to 10 or more years in prison—a group that has the lowest risk of recidivism, yet is at highest risk for homelessness. The program carefully matches formerly incarcerated participants with community members who have available living space and can offer six months of housing in exchange for a daily stipend.
“This award will have a catalytic effect on the Homecoming Project: taking it from a small pilot into a phase of significant growth and expansion,” said Alex Busansky, President of Impact Justice. “We will be able to house more than 100 people returning home from incarceration, extend our service area into neighboring Contra Costa County, allow deeper evaluation on the impacts of the program, and prepare for larger replication and scale. Especially given the convergence of multiple health, environmental, and racial injustice crises in our country, we’re confident our program will be a valuable support to people who are leaving prison succeed in their transition back to their communities.”
The competition drew close to 900 highly competitive applications from 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. After two application rounds, 15 finalists were invited to offer a detailed application proposal and present a 10-minute virtual pitch to an independent panel of judges composed of leading national affordable housing and community development experts. The judges heard five pitches for each of the Breakthrough Challenge’s three focus areas – Housing Construction, Housing Finance, and Resident Services and Support. Finally, six winners were chosen, two from each focus area.
The other competition grant winners are: cdcb come dream. come build. (Texas), Forterra NW (Washington), Center for New York City Neighborhoods (New York), Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi), and Preservation of Affordable Housing (Ohio, Massachusetts, Missouri).
“Housing affordability is directly tied to racial equity and both are urgent issues fundamentally impacting every community in our country. That is what makes the Breakthrough Challenge so important right now,” said Priscilla Almodovar, chief executive officer at Enterprise Community Partners. “We’re thrilled to support our grantees and the next generation of housing solutions through these six visionary proposals. Enterprise is incredibly grateful for the generous financial resources and tremendous expertise brought by the Wells Fargo team throughout the competition.”
“Too often good ideas are overlooked because they need expertise and resources to bring them to scale,” said Nate Hurst, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We are delighted to join Enterprise Community Partners to engage creative innovators with know-how, technical skill, and imagination, who are now awarded catalytic funding to transform their housing affordability ideas into real solutions on the ground.”
The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is part of Wells Fargo’s $1 billion commitment to support housing affordability solutions nationwide by 2025.
Entrants were asked to specifically demonstrate how their breakthrough ideas addressed racial equity and environmental considerations. The applications varied widely, demonstrating a commitment to reframing approaches to single-family and multifamily housing challenges and addressing the wide-ranging needs of homeowners, renters, children, youth, families and seniors in communities across the United States.
For more information on the competition, as well as the finalists and their winning proposals, visit the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge website.
Impact Justice is a national innovation and research center advancing new ideas and solutions for justice reform. We work to dramatically reduce the massive number of youth and adults in our justice system, improve conditions and outcomes for those who are incarcerated, and provide meaningful opportunities for formerly incarcerated people to rejoin their communities. For more information, visit: https://ImpactJustice.org.
Kyung Jin Lee