Humility Homes & Services (HHSI) and the Seventh Judicial District Department of Correctional Services (7thJDDCS) received a $1 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration for the expansion of their Pay for Success Model of Supportive Housing for individuals to ensure treatment and services for clients who experience chronic substance abuse, substance dependency and who are involved in the judicial system. This grant will cover five counties in Iowa – Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine, and Scott.

“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 project will address a variety of comprehensive programs for dealing with behavioral health issues, diagnosable substance abuse, dependency recovery issues and physical morbidities. This initiative will find and enroll clients in programs for health insurance and other programs for treatment of addictions, co-morbidities and securing safe residencies. A major part of this initiative is keeping clients involved in these comprehensive programs so that they can re-integrate into society, using their experiences as an advantage toward recovery and eventual productive, sustainable employment.

The program will address the needs of a minimum of 40 clients, including families, annually or at least 120 individuals over the period of the grant. The goals are insuring through public and private programs, client self-sufficiency and permanent, safe housing. A recent assessment of Iowa’s correctional system, including interviews and focus groups with 147 criminal justice stakeholders, found that one of the most serious gaps in resources for the correctional system is the lack of affordable housing. This works against the successful reentry of incarcerated individuals back to the communities. The Iowa Department of Corrections is operating at 116% of its designed capacity and several hundred incarcerated people remain in prison after the Iowa Parole Board has approved their releases because of a lack of suitable housing.

“Even after an incarceration 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. 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,” said Waylyn McCulloh, Director of 7thJDDCS. “I look forward to working with Ashley and her staff to implement the program with which we can both enhance the quality of lives of justice-involved individuals and reduce the use of prison beds.”

“We are in the beginning planning and development stages of this program and grant. 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,” said Velez.