Returning Citizens to Celebrate New Beginnings at Jubilee Reentry Graduation

Washington, DC — August 17, 2015 — Jubilee Housing will celebrate the graduation of six returning citizens on Friday, August 21, 2015 as they matriculate from the Reentry Housing Initiative (RHI), a program that helps returning citizens transition from incarceration back to the community, thereby dramatically increasing their chances for success while reducing the likelihood of recidivism.

The ceremony will be held at the Festival Center located at 1640 Columbia Road NW in Washington, DC and will begin at 5:30 p.m. Guests in attendance will include staff, partners, and friends and families of the graduating class.

Jubilee Housing’s RHI grew out of a realization that the needs of nearly 8,000 Washingtonians returning from incarceration each year were not being met. Launched as a small scale pilot in 2011, the program has grown to include two buildings serving up to 20 men and women at a time, pairing each resident with ongoing support, case management and connective services for up to one year. Eighteen men and women have found stability, self-sufficiency, and long-term housing through the program this year.

At the ceremony, graduates will share commencement addresses to inspire current members of the reentry program to let go of the past and choose a positive path for the life ahead of them. Graduates will also participate in the ceremonial passing of the Key to New Beginnings to current residents.

“We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of these men and women who have worked so hard to begin to rebuild their lives,” said Jim Knight, president of Jubilee Housing. “It is a privilege to be able to support their incredible journeys through the platform of affordable housing and supportive community. We hope that others will be drawn to provide similar opportunities for men and women who are in their first weeks and months reengaging the community.”

Washington, DC has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the US, with nearly 5 percent of the District’s population incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. At the same time, DC releases as many as 8,000 individuals from jail each year to communities that offer little support for their successful return. The Urban Institute and the Abell Foundation found that about 20 percent of the annual returning population ended up in a cycle bouncing from homeless shelters and emergency room visits back to incarceration. RHI works to decrease that percentage and has done so successfully with only one instance of recidivism to date.

Jubilee Housing is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to provide affordable housing and supportive services to economically disadvantaged residents of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. Jubilee serves more than 700 individuals and families, and has been a model for programs around the country seeking effective responses to the urban affordable housing crisis. The vision and purpose of Jubilee Housing is about more than providing housing, it is about making it possible for members of the Jubilee community to become their best selves in an atmosphere of supportive community.

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