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Grant funds for nonprofit organizations serving Boston's returning citizens

Office of Returning Citizens will be hosting a job fair to support returning citizens throughout the application process for jobs at the City of Boston.


Mayor Michelle Wu today  announced that applications are now being accepted for the latest round of the Returning Citizen Support (RCS) Mini Grant. This grant is one of the City’s initiatives for Second Chance Month, a national initiative to support the reentry of returning citizens and providing second-chance opportunities for those with criminal records.

The RCS grant is a competitive grant with the goal of supporting non-profit organizations that provide reentry support services and programming to individuals who are returning to Boston after being released from federal, state, or county correctional facilities. This year, a total of $80,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations providing reentry services and programs to Boston’s returning citizens. Applications are now open and responses are due on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

“Our goal is to support returning citizens to make a smooth transition to thrive in their communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I am grateful for all of the organizations that create and open doors for second-chance opportunities, and we aim to support them in the critical work that they do.”

“Providing opportunities for organizations led by and serving formerly incarcerated Boston residents is directly in line with the Mayor’s commitment of creating a Boston that is welcoming to all,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services. “The needs of Boston’s returning citizens currently exceed the available supply; this investment allows us to increase our service capacity and provides opportunities for those navigating the challenges of reentry to be met with compassion and grace.”

Every year, the Office of Returning Citizens supports over 3,000 individuals that return to Boston from federal, state and county prisons and jails with the healthy steps to re-enter their communities. Reentry and integration services may include, but are not limited to job training programs, peer mentoring, family reunification, community stability, food assistance, economic independence, and housing stability.

Additionally this year, the City of Boston has implemented revisions to the CORI policy, in efforts to improve the hiring process. Policy revisions have been made to ensure that the language is clear, and that the City’s Human Resources professionals have received proper training on how to hire people with criminal records. ORC has been developing partnerships with various departments, such as the Parks Department, to provide more opportunities to hire formerly justice-involved. Additionally this month, the Office of Returning Citizens will be hosting a job fair to support returning citizens throughout the application process for jobs at the City of Boston.

“As an employer, the City of Boston strives to be a positive example for other employers across the state,” said Chief People Officer Alex Lawrence. “I am glad we have improved the processes and support within our operations to become a more supportive employer for those with criminal records.” 

Later this month, the Office of Black Male Advancement will also be hosting a Project Opportunity Resource Fair and CORI Legal Clinic in partnership with the Office of Returning Citizens. Project Opportunity is an initiative that creates equitable opportunities for Boston residents with CORIs. The program connects residents with free legal consultation for sealing or expunging records; has panel discussions to address challenges and solutions for residents with CORIs; connects residents with employment and training resources; connects residents with key resources for well-being; and partners with City departments to meet the needs of residents with CORIs.

The Project Opportunity Resource Fair will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024, 10am-1pm at the Bruce E. Bolling Municipal Building, 2300 Washington St in Roxbury.

“The Office of Black Male Advancement strives to improve outcomes and reduce systemic barriers to Black men and boys living in Boston,” said Frank Farrow, Executive Director of The Office of Black Male Advancement. “I am grateful for our continued partnership with the Office of Returning Citizens. During Second Chance Month we will be supporting their efforts to create opportunities and resources for residents with CORIs.

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