Local Organizations Receives City Grant

Special to the Patriot-Bridge

Mayor Michelle Wu, the Office of Human Services (OHS), and the Office of Returning Citizens (ORC) announced the award of over $1 million in funding to 35 organizations including Charlestown Adult Education and North Suffolk Community Services that provide reentry support services to individuals who are returning to Boston after being released from federal, state, or county correctional facilities.

Mayor Michelle Wu.

Of the 35 grantees, 29 organizations are either led by people of color, led by a returning citizen, or both. Over 80% of the total funding being awarded will be going to those 29 organizations. Today’s awards of the Returning Citizens Support (RCS) grants mark the first-ever City funding to support community-based organizations that serve returning citizens. This is a key component of the historic investment of $2.6 million made by Mayor Wu in the FY23 budget for the ORC. The awards are the result of a competitive grant process announced in December. 

“Wrapping around our returning citizens with programming and services is vital to ensuring formerly incarcerated individuals are able to return to their lives and community successfully,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m so grateful to all our partner organizations for their commitment to supporting our community members in their reentry.”

“This investment in services will boost the overall impact of the Office of Returning Citizens and help to provide relief and support to individuals who are returning to Boston from incarceration,” said Chief of Human Services José Massó. “In addition to the grants for services available to all returning citizens, we are making a special effort to fund organizations that are led by returning citizens and people of color, and those that have unique expertise in providing support to underserved populations of returning citizens, such as women and people who identify as LGBTQI.” 

“Even though there’s still work to be done, it is gratifying to begin to build a network of resources for returning citizens and especially to be able to support so many of our partners that have been doing this work as a labor of love for so many years,” said David Mayo, Executive Director of the Office of Returning Citizens. “Partnerships like these are what will make Boston a better place to return home.”

“Today, we take another step to right past harms by investing in organizations and nonprofits centering the needs of those returning home from incarceration, many of these led by those very same individuals,” said Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune. “When we talked about investing in our returning citizens during last year’s budget, this is a model for what my office wanted to see: organizations led by those directly impacted leading the way for mental health services, family reunification, supportive housing, substance abuse counseling, and workforce training. There’s more to do, but this is a start.”

This announcement marks a significant milestone in the city’s efforts to create a network of services available to formerly incarcerated individuals returning home. The RCS grant will provide non-profit organizations with vital funding to support a variety of services including: family reunification; services specifically tailored to the unique challenges facing LGBTQI returning citizens; services specifically tailored to the unique challenges facing women returning citizens; education; career and employment trainings and professional skills development; clothing, food, and other basic needs; CORI sealing and expungement; transitional and permanent housing supports; Know Your Rights legal trainings; mentorship; and mental health and substance use counseling. 

The following organizations have received grants as part of this funding round:

• Charlestown Adult Education

• North Suffolk Community


• Baystate Reentry Network

• Big Hope Project

• Black and Pink

• Boston Lesbigay Urban


• City Church Boston

• College Bound Dorchester

• Family Nurturing Center

• Fathers’ Uplift

• Future Hope Apprenticeship

• God’s Soldiers, Inc.

• Greater Boston Legal Services

• Haley House

• Healing Our Land

• Jericho Circle Project

• Justice 4 Housing Hands on Defense Program

• Justice Resource Institute,


• Lawyer’s Clearinghouse

   on Affordable Housing &


• Lena-Park Community


• Louis D Brown Peace Institute

• New Beginnings Reentry Services

• New England Innocence Project

• Nubian Square Foundation

• Out for Good Behavioral


• People Affecting Community Change

• Prophetic Resistance Boston

• Project Smile, Suits and Smiles

• Project Turnaround

• The Center for Teen


• Union of Minority


• United Baptist Church

• Voices of Liberation

• We Are Better Together

• Working Credit NFP

“Massachusetts residents returning home from incarceration deserve safe and dignified housing. Instead they face stigma, barriers and discrimination. Stable housing is the most crucial resource to promoting public safety, public health and circumventing recidivism. Justice 4 Housing (J4H) is an organization whose leadership is directly affected. Our knowledge and expertise has been paramount to our success,” said Leslie Credle, Founder & Executive Director of Justice 4 Housing. “I am living proof that housing is the gateway to a successful reentry. Our programs have provided permanent housing and legal advocacy support for over 100 formerly incarcerated people in our communities. Justice 4 Housing is proud to be one of the first recipients of the Returning Citizens Support (RCS) grant. We look forward to continuing working side by side with the ORC and its new Executive Director, David Mayo. This year, we will continue to provide the most critical resources which include permanent housing solutions and homeownership to the most vulnerable population in the Commonwealth.”

The ORC was established in 2019 to serve as a central hub for all services related to the reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals into Boston. The ORC’s mission is to support individuals returning from incarceration by providing case management, referrals and connections to essential resources and services that can help them rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities. The RCS grant is a crucial part of the ORC’s efforts to achieve this mission.

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