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Charleston County to participate in effort to break incarceration cycle

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Charleston County is one of four communities selected to participate in the launch of the Just Home Project, a national program designed to advance community-driven efforts to break a link between housing instability and incarceration.

The initiative is led by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with technical support and coordination by the Urban Institute.

“Charleston County is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the MacArthur Foundation on this project,” Deputy County Administrator of Community Services Christine DuRant said in a news release. “We look forward to building upon the successful progress already established by our Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Charleston Center, as well as capitalizing on new resources being dedicated to housing by the county. With support from the Urban Institute, our team aims to create a community-informed program that takes a housing-first approach paired with targeted supportive services for individuals caught in the revolving door between homelessness and incarceration. Our hope is that this demonstration project will set the stage for additional efforts that contribute to decreasing jail population and tackling the racially disparate footprint that the criminal justice system has on our community.”

The other communities selected for the program are Minnehaha County, S.D.; the city and county of San Francisco, Calif.; and Tulsa County, Okla.)

Collaboration with local organizations and agencies, including One80 Place, will be a priority for Charleston County as it leads the region in the Just Home Project, the release said.

“One80 Place is keenly aware of the perpetual cycle some homeless individuals are caught in, between jail and homelessness,” One80 Place CEO Stacey W. Denaux said in the release. “The hard work of the CJCC’s pilot program shed light on systems failures and missed opportunities to disrupt this cycle.”

At the conclusion of this six-month planning period, Charleston County will have the opportunity to receive additional grant funds and/or impact investments from MacArthur to support an implementation period through February 2024, the release said. To help participating communities acquire or develop housing that meets the needs of justice-involved individuals, MacArthur plans to provide long-term loans totaling up to $15 million across the four participating sites.

 Charleston County is also a participant in the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative that began in 2015 to reduce the overall jail population as well as racial and ethnic disparities in jails. 

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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