In 2009, we created the country’s first Family Alternative to Incarceration program, “Drew House,” in which women with first-time felonies could serve their sentences with their children outside the confines of an institutional setting.
In 2015, we expanded our justice work as the lead agency in the Women’s Community Justice Project (WCJP), which was created to divert women being unnecessarily detained at Rose M. Singer Center (Rosie’s), a women’s prison on Rikers Island, into community-based transitional housing with supportive services. Many women are kept in detention at Rosie’s not because they have been charged with a crime, but simply because they are homeless and cannot afford to pay bail--which is often less than $1,000. WCJP began as a privately-funded, year-long pilot, and in 2016, received funding from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice for a multi-year demonstration project.
WCJP grew out of convenings with executive directors from four other nonprofit supporting housing providers—Greenhope Services for Women, Hour Children, Providence House, and Women's Prison Association. Together, the partners have 59 units of transitional housing for single women, bringing together a wealth of experience and expertise in case management, mental health and substance use treatment, vocational/job training, and other supports to serve the distinct needs of justice-involved women.
To-date, HousingPlus and our partners have served more than 200 women. With additional funding from MOCJ in 2020, WCJP added 10 units of housing specifically for pregnant women and mothers, with the aim of reunifying and reconnecting justice-involved women and their children.