4 West 43rd Street, Second Floor, New York NY 10036 development@housingplusnyc.org 212-213-0221

Alternative to Detention and Women’s Community Justice Project

In 2015, HousingPlus started a coalition of social service agencies to form the Women’s Community Justice Project. We work with bail reform agencies like the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund to identify women charged with misdemeanors who can’t afford bail and are experiencing homelessness or are unstably housed. These women can end up losing their jobs, their spot in a shelter, or custody of their children while they’re stuck at Rikers Island. More than 700 women reported being homeless at the time of their arrest. These women can’t afford bail of $2,000 or less. Some women plead guilty just to get of jail, but having a conviction on their record means they’ll have a harder time finding employment or housing in the future.

The HousingPlus Alternative to Detention Program:

  • Keeps women who pose no danger to their community out of Rikers Island
  • Supports women to meet their legal obligations
  • Prevents children from entering the foster care system because their mothers are unnecessarily detained
  • Helps women remain employed and/or in school while they meet their legal obligations
  • Offers support services to help women get back on their feet
  • Addresses trauma or health issues that may have led to homelessness in the first place

Women in our Alternative to Detention program have a safe place to stay and access to on-site support services while they meet legal obligations. It costs New Yorkers about $475 per day to jail someone. At HousingPlus, we’re able to house and support a woman for about $50 a day.

The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund found that when their clients get access to bail, 88% of them had their case dismissed or resolved without a conviction. In comparison, only 38% of people who can’t afford bail have the same outcome.