On June 13, 2016, the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Correction, chaired by Assembly Member Daniel J O’Donnell, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Transitional Services, chaired by Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda, held a joint hearing on the important topic “Devising a Smart Supportive Housing Strategy for Ex-Offenders upon Reentry.”
Legal Action Center’s New York State Policy Director, Sebastian Solomon, testified at the hearing. He put the need for supportive housing in the context of the broader barriers faced by this population, including the lack of legal protections barring discrimination in housing against those with prior criminal justice involvement, barriers that limit people from returning to the New York City Housing Authority, and the reality of this population ending up in the unsafe, unstable conditions in three-quarter houses. Sebastian also spoke about the protections recently set up in other localities around the country.
Mr. Solomon then emphasized the need to dedicate supportive housing services to the needs of this population. In keeping with reports created by a working group assembled by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, of which LAC is a member. Mr. Solomon called for the State to dedicate 15% of newly built supportive housing units to appropriately targeted individuals returning from prison or jail, and also stressed that these individuals should not be segregated in separate “justice involved” developments.
The Legal Action Center’s recommendation to dedicate supportive housing units to the criminal justice population was in line with the recommendations of Governor Cuomo’s State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, of which the Legal Action Center is a member, recommendations that Governor Cuomo accepted last September.
You can read a copy of Sebastian’s testimony here.