Program launched in New Haven to help those released from prison
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - New Haven is launching a program to help those released from prison land back on their feet.
It starts with putting some money in their pocket.
Twenty clients at New Haven’s Re-Entry Welcome Center, all of them released from prison within the last year, are part of this pilot.
The idea is the money will not only help them get back on their feet but help provide a solid ground to hopefully prevent them from ending up back behind bars.
“This investment helps those people reach the heights they’re trying to reach and prevent them from being discouraged upset,” said Donald Moody.
Moody spent 25 years locked up. He was convicted for a 1994 murder when he was just a teenager.
“I came into jail when I was 17 years old, never paid rent, never had a license, never had insurance,” said Moody.
Now he’s got a job as a healthcare aide along with planning a July wedding.
Finding one’s way back into society isn’t always easy.
“Things like housing, securing employment, job training, barriers to education, family reunification, you name it, folks are having trouble when they get home, especially depending on how long they’ve been away,” said Dijonee Talley with the New Haven Department of Community Resilience.
To help, the city just launched a guaranteed income pilot, joining similar programs in Illinois, Florida and North Carolina.
Over the next year 20 clients, already working with the city’s re-entry welcome center, will receive $500 a month.
The money, $6,000 total over one year, will be loaded on an Elm City ID card, the backside which doubles as a pre-paid MasterCard, covering everything from basic needs like bills or childcare costs.
“That extra cash could be, could be a life saver,” Moody said.
The idea is the money will help provide a baseline.
For Moody that means help paying bills.
4-CT, an organization which uses private funding and donations to provide direct cash to residents in need, will run the program.
It’s already making a difference for Moody and his family.
“One of the reasons why most go back to jail is because of the bills they encounter when they come home. I feel this is going to help so many so they don’t have to go back to prison, for when they’re looking for a job and they can’t find a job, now they got back to what they know best. Now as they’re preparing to find more work educate themselves, now they have that $500 able to support them while they’re trying to get on their feet,” said Joyce Bellamy Moody, Donald’s wife.
While it’s just a pilot program now, 4-CT’s CEO said they already had talks with the mayors of Hartford and Middletown for the potential of programs there.
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