$1 million grant award will expand supportive housing

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Barb Arland-Fye
Ashley Velez, executive director of Humility Homes and Service, Inc. (standing on the stairs) and Sister Johanna Rickl, president of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, pose outside a house that HHSI recently purchased. HHSI has received more than $4 million in funding to expand its affordable housing options in the Quad Cities.

For The Catholic Messenger
People living in Scott, Clinton, Muscatine, Jackson and Cedar counties who are involved with the judicial system will benefit from a $1 million grant to expand supportive housing.

Humility Homes & Services (HHSI), based in Davenport, and the Seventh Judicial District Department of Corrections received the grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration for the expansion of their Pay for Success Model of Supportive Housing. This program ensures treatment and services for clients who experience chronic substance abuse, substance dependency and who are involved in the judicial system, according to an HHSI news release.

“We were awarded the only grant in the nation of this kind, which is unbelievably humbling to us that we received this opportunity,” said Ashley Velez, HHSI’s executive director

The joint effort will address an array of comprehensive programs for addressing behavioral health issues, diagnosable substance abuse, dependency recovery issues and physical morbidities. The two agencies will collaborate in locating and enrolling clients in resources for health insurance and other benefit programs for treatment of addictions, co-morbidities and securing safe residencies.

Keeping clients involved in these comprehensive programs is essential so that they may re-integrate into society, employing their valuable experiences as an advantage toward recovery and eventual productive, sustainable employment, the news release states. The program will address the needs of a minimum of 40 clients (including families) annually over the three-year grant with the goals of ensuring that through public and private programs, clients will work toward self-sufficiency and permanent, safe housing.

A recent assessment of Iowa’s correctional system — involving interviews and focus groups with 147 criminal justice stakeholders — found that one of the most serious gaps in resources is the lack of affordable housing. This gap works against the successful reentry into the community of individuals after their release from incarceration. The Iowa Department of Corrections is operating at 116% of its designed capacity, the news release states. Several-hundred incarcerated individuals remain in prison after the Iowa Parole Board has approved their releases because of lack of suitable housing.

“Even after an incarcerated individual returns, if he or she experiences inadequate housing, his or her risk for return to prison increases exponentially. The Seventh Judicial District Department of Correctional Services (7thJDDCS) and HHSI have enjoyed a long period of collaboration in working to provide housing for justice-involved individuals,” said Waylyn McCulloh, director of 7thJDDCS. “When the Department of Justice announced a housing grant solicitation, the 7thJDDCS and HHSI recognized an opportunity to secure funding that they could use to address a critical community need.” He looks forward to working with Velez and her staff to implement a program that can enhance the quality of lives of justice-involved individuals and reduce the use of prison beds.

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“We are in the beginning planning and development stages of this program and grant,” Velez said. “This is a great success for our entire community and expands out the number of units of Permanent Supportive Housing our agency was attempting to achieve in our strategic plan and the number in the Silos to Solution plan as this aligns with the community wide vision plan.”


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