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Two Grants To Expand Services For Returning Citizens

Grant funds will fill gaps in the service network available to returning citizens with a special focus on health and wellness.

Mayor Wu, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens (ORC), today announced the award of $500,000 in grants to 30 reentry services organizations through the Returning Citizens Services grant aimed at increasing access to various services that individuals need as they return home from prison or jail. The Mayor also announced the award of a second grant that will increase access to health and wellness services for the City’s returning citizen population. Combined, these grants total $705,000 and represent a significant investment in the health, well-being, and success of formerly incarcerated residents. 

“We are blessed in Boston to have a strong ecosystem of community providers with the relationships and track record to deliver results, and I’m thankful to every organization that serves our returning citizens and works to ensure smooth transitions home,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Our goal is for Boston to be a city that attends to each individual’s needs and guides them in taking steps to thrive in their communities.”  

“We are thrilled to support organizations led by and serving formerly incarcerated Boston residents with this new funding,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services. “The wellness needs of returning citizens are urgent and complex, with over half reporting mental health or substance use challenges. This investment enables community providers uniquely positioned to meet those needs with compassion.”

Now in its second year, the Returning Citizens Services grant will allocate a total of $500,000 to 30 nonprofit applicants. The funds will support a diverse array of reentry services that returning citizens need including financial coaching, job readiness, substance use disorder support, transitional and permanent housing, education, CORI sealing and expungement, community building, art and creative expression, and family reunification. 

This grant funding is intended to support nonprofit organizations that provide reentry support services to individuals who are returning to Boston after being released from federal, state, or county correctional facilities. 

“The invaluable support of the Office of Returning Citizens amplifies our crucial work at the intersection of race, justice, and opportunity. This funding not only demonstrates a commitment to uplifting communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, but also serves as a vital lifeline for local Black nonprofits like ours, dedicated to restorative justice, ” said Harry Jean Jacques, Founder/President Big Hope Project.

For the second grant opportunity – focused on supporting health and wellbeing – 14 of the 15 grantees selected are either founded and led by formerly incarcerated individuals or have partnered with a returning citizen-led group. These grants will fund a variety of innovative community-driven programs focused on yoga, mindfulness, trauma healing, peer support, and holistic care.

Each program funded looks to empower returning citizens through community, peer support, and evidence-based modalities like mindfulness and trauma-healing to improve coping skills and resilience. Grantees will collectively serve an estimated 700-800 additional returning residents over the next year.

“We are immensely grateful for the transformative impact of the Returning Citizens Supportive Services and Health and Wellness Grants this will have for our organization,” said Stacey Borden, Executive Director of New Beginnings Reentry Services. “This grant serves as a beacon of hope, empowering our organization to provide essential support and resources to individuals navigating the journey of reentry. With this invaluable assistance, we can truly make a difference in fostering new beginnings, promoting wellness, and championing the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated women into society. Together, we are building a brighter future and breaking down barriers to create a more inclusive and supportive community for all.”

The full list of grant awards is included on the Office of Returning Citizens’ website

To learn more about supporting Boston’s returning citizens visit here. For more information about other grant opportunities with the City of Boston, visit here.

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