We have served women returning from incarceration since its founding in 1979 – well over 1,000 women in total. The program now takes place in two congregate residences in Brooklyn. Providence House V in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens provides housing and supportive services for up to four months for 16 homeless women with criminal justice system involvement. Providence House VI in Coney Island is a nine-bed re-entry house for women paroled from New York State prisons. A unique aspect of both residences is the presence of three live-in Catholic sisters who form what is known as the “core community.” They are a resource to the residents in the program, providing a listening ear, informal guidance, and non-judgmental support.

Along with safe shelter and healthy meals, the women in the Re-Entry Program receive self-sufficiency skills training to facilitate the transition to independent living and decrease the likelihood of a return to homelessness or incarceration. On-site case management services are provided to ensure access to all needed services, including substance abuse or mental health treatment, life skills training, household budgeting and financial management, and any parole- or court-mandated services.

The women served also receive the benefit of an Employment Specialist/Job Developer to help them prepare for, find, and maintain suitable employment. After residents have secured employment  and become more financially stable, a Housing Specialist leverages well-developed relationships with landlords and other local housing providers to facilitate the search for an affordable apartment in the community.

Aftercare services are provided for up to one year after women move into permanent housing. Women are individually served, through regular phone contact or in-home visits, as they adjust to employment, secure themselves financially, obtain healthcare, maintain independent housing, and manage other responsibilities. Aftercare contributes to the program’s success in helping participants find and keep jobs, and in turn helps maintain the program’s unparalleled low recidivism rate.

Fewer than 5% of women in Providence House’s Re-entry Program return to prison within a year of release, compared with more than 15% of all women paroled in New York State.