Locally, nationally and around the world communities are demanding policing and prison reforms. Simply put: Our current justice systems are not working to provide community safety.
As we at Meyer begin to look toward the future of what is needed for community safety and justice for all, we know that we cannot forget about the individuals and families that have been harmed by incarceration or jail. The long-term negative impacts of trauma, family and community separation, extended periods of supervision and regulatory conditions, community stigma, limited income, and reduced housing options increase the chances of recidivism and reincarceration. Poverty coupled with historical and institutional discrimination have led to the over incarceration of Black and Brown communities, and mass incarceration and policies that were designed to be tough on crime have perpetuated cycles of poverty and incarceration that continue to leave devastating effects on our communities.
Philanthropy must rise to its responsibility and disrupt this system of injustice.
In Oregon, tens of thousands of people have criminal records and the Oregon Health Authority estimates that about 26,000 people are released from jails and 5,500 people from federal and state prisons back into the community every year. Data show that people of color are more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system and people who have experienced incarceration or jail are more likely to experience higher rates of poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental health needs. There is growing recognition that successful reintegration into society for individuals involved in the criminal justice system benefits those individuals, their families and the broader community. Research from Prison Policy Initiative shows that housing can be a powerful pathway for individuals involved in the criminal justice system to transition out of the cycle of incarceration and back into the community or workforce and reduces the likelihood of an individual returning to jail or prison.
Supporting people who have been justice-involved to secure housing is one of the many ways that philanthropy can disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty.
In pursuit of Meyer’s vision of a flourishing and equitable Oregon, the Housing Opportunities portfolio released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on June 22 inviting applications from nonprofits, government agencies and organizations with existing re-entry programs.
The focus of the RFP is to fund interventions and supports that address housing stability gaps for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails and juvenile facilities and those with past justice involvement and their families. This RFP will especially focus on funding work that addresses gaps in renter access due to past and present discriminatory systems and practices and efforts that advance marginalized populations in building a better life for themselves on a foundation of stable housing.
This funding opportunity will increase access to and retention of private market units for individuals living on low incomes who are also justice-involved by supporting effective strategies that engage private market landlords and management companies as partners in addressing affordable housing needs across Oregon communities.
Two funding information sessions will be available for this Request for Proposals:
- Friday, June 26, at 11 a.m. PST
- Wednesday, July 8, at 11 a.m. PST
During the video conference, we will provide participants with an informative overview of the new funding opportunity, offer ideas about what successful applications might look like for housing-focused organizations and much more.
You can find more details about the RFP here.
I look forward to connecting with you during the information sessions.
Applications for the 2020 Justice-Involved Request for Proposals are due by 5pm on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.
Meyer Memorial Trust invites proposals that will increase access to quality private market housing units for individuals living on low-incomes who are also justice-involved. Up to $150,000, over two years, in new funding is available.
Applicants will be notified of their award status in late November, with funding available in early to mid-December.
Grant funds can be used for a variety of purposes to support the proposed project’s goals, including the following examples:
- Project management or consulting services dedicated to furthering the project.
- Hiring staff to support the project.
- Approaches and strategies that will reduce screening barriers for individuals living on low-incomes who are also justice-involved such as reasonable accommodations or appeals, utility debt relief, rental applications, etc.
- Evaluation and assessment.
- Development of educational material, toolkits, manual of project.
- Other uses as approved by Meyer.
Meyer staff will present an overview of the RFP and answer questions during two online information sessions on Friday, June 26, at 11am PST and Wednesday, July 8, at 11am PST. To attend, please visit the event registration page to receive details for joining the session. Attendance is encouraged but not mandatory.
To register for the session, please visit: eventbrite.com/e/housing-opportunities-2020-justice-involved-rfp-registration-110711621440. Attendance is encouraged but not mandatory.