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Breaking the Link Between Housing Instability and Incarceration

Partnering organizations include Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity, Housing Solutions, 

Family & Children’s Services, and the Terence Crutcher Foundation

Tulsa has been selected as one of four communities/entities to participate in the launch of the Just Home Project, a national program designed to advance community-driven efforts to break the link between housing instability and jail incarceration. The Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO), Housing Solutions, Family & Children’s Services, and the Terence Crutcher Foundation worked on the grant application with extensive support from partners across the housing, homelessness and justice spaces.

“Our data clearly show that justice involvement is one of the most significant barriers to obtaining quality, affordable housing. When coupled with the disparate impact the justice system has on communities of color, you have the foundation for mass housing insecurity. This is an exciting opportunity to empower impacted communities, educate the public and move our housing goals incrementally forward. We look forward to working with our partners to tackle this barrier head on and create more housing opportunities for justice-involved and housing insecure Tulsans.”, said Becky Gligo, Executive Director at Housing Solutions.

This grant will result in a community led planning process and access to vital resources to create housing opportunities for justice involved Tulsans who might otherwise be facing housing insecurity or homelessness. “We are excited to know that there are national partners who see the need to tackle this issue in Tulsa. Every day, our Foundation works as a backbone grassroots organization in Oklahoma to create just and liberated communities free from racial violence and harm.

The Terence Crutcher Foundation and our community partners have the trust, proximity, and credibility to plan and enact community responses to community crises as the engagement partner on this project. People closest to the problem should be closest to the solution and we look forward to continuing to center impacted families and individuals in this important work,” said Sheyda Brown, Deputy Director at the Terence Crutcher Foundation.

The initiative is led by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Urban Institute. TAEO’s selection includes an initial nearly $370,000 grant from MacArthur to create a plan to address the impact of incarceration on housing instability in Tulsa, along with technical assistance and coordination
provided by the Urban Institute.

“When we look at data on the drivers of homelessness and housing insecurity in Tulsa, the impact of incarceration becomes glaringly apparent,” said Kian Kamas, TAEO Executive Director. “We are honored to have the opportunity to work alongside key partners in Tulsa who have been deeply engaged in criminal justice policy and programs, and who are committed to partnering in new and innovative ways to identify housing solutions for some of Tulsa’s most vulnerable residents, with the goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration. We know that housing is critical to any individual’s long-term economic success,
and are excited to learn from the three other communities in this initiative as we collectively seek to develop targeted housing investment action plans for justice-involved residents.”

“Family & Children’s Services is thrilled to partner with other Tulsa providers to eliminate discriminatory screening processes, expensive application requirements and long waiting lists, ultimately providing mothers and children with housing access critical for long-term stability which is too often denied due to criminal-legal entanglement” added Mimi Tarrasch,  Chief Program Officer, Women in Recovery & Women’s Justice Programs. “Housing Justice is about building a relentless organizing base of people fighting for housing as a basic human right. It is the most basic of human dignity!  It is essential to understand that providing long-term housing is critical for justice involved individuals to restore personal security, self-sufficiency and dignity. Thanks to the Just Home project and the generosity of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, F&CS clients will be able to obtain long-term housing access critical for a nurturing, safe environment.”

In addition to Tulsa, other communities selected for the Just Home Project include Charleston County, South Carolina; Minnehaha County, South Dakota; City and County of San Francisco, California. Each jurisdiction will work alongside key housing and criminal justice partners to develop and implement cross-organizational strategies to break the cycle of homelessness and ultimately incarceration in their communities. All four communities will have the opportunity to receive additional support from MacArthur from a $15 million pool of impact investment funds to implement plans and acquire or develop housing for
populations that are not being served by current housing resources. By coupling grant funding with investment capital, this demonstration project seeks to unlock local government innovation, absorb risk that housing providers are hesitant to take, and provide much-needed support for people in danger of remaining trapped in a cycle of housing instability and jail.

Local Partners

Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity | cityoftulsa.org

The Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO) formally launched in July 2021 and seeks to increase economic opportunity in Tulsa through the strategic management of public assets and resources. The Authority streamlines and strengthens the City’s economic development efforts through the merging of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED), Tulsa Industrial Authority (TIA), Tulsa Parking Authority (TPA), and Economic Development Commission (EDC) into a single, enhanced Public Trust. TAEO is governed by a 13-member Board of Trustees and provides staffing for, and oversees the operations of, the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA).

Housing Solutions | housingsolutionstulsa.org
Housing Solutions is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building systems that make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Housing Solutions is the lead agency for the Tulsa County HUD-funded Continuum of Care (CoC). The lead agency works with the community to implement the
strategic plan while guiding local service providers to implement evidence-based practices through system changes. 

Family & Children’s Services | fcsok.org
For over a century, Family & Children’s Services has been the place to turn for help with problems that seem overwhelming and too difficult to handle alone. The agency restores children’s well-being, heals victims of abuse, strengthens individuals and families, and provides hope and recovery for adults suffering from mental illness and addictions. Today, its life-changing services help one in six Tulsans.

The Terence Crutcher Foundation | terencecrutcherfoundation.org
The mission of the Terence Crutcher Foundation is to create just and liberated communities free from racial violence and harm. The foundation builds power, policy advocacy, community development, and education, and engages community, law enforcement, and policymakers to identify, prevent, and confront racial inequities in Tulsa, Oklahoma and across the country by advancing policy, strengthening communities, and honoring the legacy of our ancestors.

Initiative Leaders

MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges,
including decreasing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the U.S., and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. MacArthur also is committed to building the field of impact investing and providing catalytic capital to address social and environmental challenges around the world. Learn more about the Foundation’s Criminal Justice reform and Impact Investment programs.

Urban Institute
The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity. We are a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decision making, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. For more than 50 years, Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions—and this remains our charge today.

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