VENICE, FL (January 19, 2022) – In response to the ongoing challenges of identifying and securing housing and supports for individuals returning to the community after incarceration, Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently provided a $156,000 grant to Community Assisted and Supported Living, Inc. (CASL).
In February 2020, Gulf Coast partnered with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) to launch the inaugural Re-entry Navigator Program to positively reintegrate individuals into the community upon their release from the correctional facility. With funding from Gulf Coast, the Sheriff’s Office hired two full-time “re-entry navigators,” who connect inmates to reintegration programs before and after they leave the county correctional facility, helping them avoid returning. Since inception the navigators have connected with 222 inmates in the correction facility and about 40 individuals annually continue to receive support in the community.
To further help individuals with supports when reentering society after incarceration, a joint meeting was held on January 12, 2021 between the SCSO corrections leadership team, including the re-entry navigators, and the CASL leadership team where they envisioned the Transition Inmates to Supported Housing Project (Transitions). With funding from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, this vision was made into a reality. Transitions worked with the re-entry navigators to identify potential candidates who would be homeless upon release, and have behavioral health challenges, to provide them the opportunity for supportive housing.
The collaboration between Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Sheriff’s Office, and CASL was groundbreaking from the start. “Formerly incarcerated individuals are ten times more likely to fall into homelessness than the general public,” said Mark Pritchett, President|CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “This unique collaboration has given individuals a successful reintroduction to the community with the critical supports they need now and in the future.”
“The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office recognizes the value of community partnerships when it comes to reducing recidivism and finding solutions to incarceration. Through our collaboration with CASL and assistance from our re-entry navigators, nine former inmates were placed in housing, along with a strong support system, to help with their transition back into the community,” said Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman.
Through the $156,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CASL was able to dedicate five beds for this project. CASL case managers worked with individuals to develop plans for success within five days of admission, coordinating food access, transportation services, assistance in applying for benefits, and more. The individuals in the Transitions program have benefited tremendously from the supports.
“The collaborative partners of this project have come to recognize that without stable housing, it is almost impossible for individuals to find a path to mental, economic, medical, and social health,” said P.J. Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of CASL. “Our goal is to give the program participants the foundational support to begin their journey.”
For more information, visit GulfCoastCF.org.
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About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
For more than 25 years, together with our donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of over 950 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds here. Together, we have invested over $430 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.
About Community Assisted and Supported Living, Inc.
CASL provides permanent supportive housing coupled with case management and housing supports for individuals with disabling conditions of which the majority are mental health and substance abuse related. CASL’s mission is to provide safe, affordable, and supportive housing for adults with disabilities. We believe that without the security of a place to live, it is impossible for individuals who struggle with homelessness to break the cycle. By providing safe, supportive, and affordable housing choices, CASL strives to reduce and, one day, eliminate homelessness for individuals with disabilities. Learn more at CASLinc.org.