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Using data from an evaluation of three Second Chance Act grantees, we explore formerly incarcerated people’s (FIP) access to housing. This study is unique in that it includes the perspectives of individuals with lived experiences and the insights of the reentry program providers working to meet their overall needs, including in the area of housing. The data come from reentry programs in three regions of the United States. Although the needs of the people with lived experiences have similarities, regional differences exist, particularly related to housing costs and supply, including the availability of transitional housing. Also, variations exist between FIP who are able to live with family compared with those who do not have this option. The three programs this study examined worked to address housing needs in distinctive ways and explores the housing needs of FIP and the strategies the three programs use to address these needs. Incorporating a two-pronged approach, this article includes analyses of (1) interview data with 31 FIP from 3 months to 3 years post-incarceration and (2) interviews and program materials to support formulative case analyses of the housing-related work that program enacted. Through this work, highlighting program efforts to remove barriers to housing for this population, the study seeks to promote the advancement of relevant policy, practice, and research in this arena.


Published in Cityscape by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.