HARTFORD, CT -- The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced a three-year, $450,000 grant to Community Partners in Action (CPA), working with the City of Hartford and other partners, to establish a one-stop Reentry Welcome Center for returning citizens in the City of Hartford. In March of last year, the Foundation awarded a $50,000 planning grant to CPA to develop a roadmap for establishing a reentry center. (This effort included the development of the report, The Greater Hartford Re-Entry Center Plan: A Welcome Center for People Returning From Jail and Prison – executive summary may be downloaded below).
The majority of people released from prison or jail in Connecticut return to the state’s five urban areas, including Hartford. In 2016, more than 2,000 individuals were released from a correctional facility, halfway house or parole supervision, with over half returning to Hartford, according to State Department of Correction data. The absence of adequate stabilizing resources in Hartford for these returning citizens immediately upon release jeopardizes their successful reintegration.
“We’ve been working in close partnership with Community Partners in Action, and establishing a one-stop Reentry Welcome Center has been our goal from day one,” said Mayor Bronin. “The Reentry Welcome Center will facilitate access to basic necessities like clothing and housing, as well as substance abuse treatment, educational programming, and job training. That’s not just about offering individuals a second chance – it’s about making our community safer and stronger. I am deeply grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for their generous support, and I am excited to continue working with Community Partners in Action to make this Reentry Welcome Center a reality.”
Before his election, Mayor Bronin formed a reentry working group made up of faith, community, and non-profit leaders, academics, and corrections professionals. They came up with a set of recommendations to integrate returning citizens into their neighborhoods related to data collection, resource identification, job training and other support, as well as partnership opportunities. The Reentry Welcome Center will be able to carry out many of those recommendations.
“We are pleased to support the creation of this much-needed resource for returning citizens to Greater Hartford communities,” said Hartford Foundation director of Grants and Partnership Investments Judy McBride. “CPA's coordination with stakeholders – including State and Hartford agencies – makes the launch of the Center viable, allowing for a more coordinated, systemic approach to how recently released returning citizens are reintegrated, and providing direct access to support and additional programs. Commitments of the City of Hartford and partners to provide essential services make such a change possible despite limited City and State financial resources.”
The Reentry Welcome Center will serve approximately 150 returning citizens each year for three years. Returning citizens will be able to access support and services offered by a variety of community organizations from basic needs like food and clothing to services like substance abuse treatment and job training as well as educational opportunities. The Center will also serve as a data collection hub and track referral outcomes across partners. Other partners contributing to this effort include the Connecticut Department of Correction, the Court Support Services Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University and Capitol Workforce Partners.
“CPA’s Board of Directors and staff are pleased that our agency was able to play such an important role in having the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center realized,” said Maureen Price-Boreland, Executive Director of Community Partners in Action. “It is a testament to CPA’s philosophy on fostering strong partnerships to meet our mission that includes effective service for returning citizens. We look forward to helping to spearhead, develop and implement the site. We are grateful to all those who served on planning committees, focus groups, provided data, shared their expertise and overall support for this effort.”
Research and Communications Specialist
Office of Hartford Mayor Luke A. Bronin