New & Noteworthy
Community Partners in Action, City of Hartford, Hartford Foundation Cuts Ribbon on Expanded Reentry Welcome Center in Hartford
Today, Mayor Luke Bronin, Community Partners in Action (CPA), and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, advocates, partners, participants, and state and local leaders to cut the ribbon on the expanded, improved Reentry Welcome Center (RWC) in Hartford at its new location at 716 Windsor Street. CPA is a statewide organization that provides support services for those who have recently been incarcerated. CPA and the City of Hartford opened the RWC in September 2018 at City Hall. Since then, they have assisted over 1,000 individuals returning from incarceration, with a priority focus on people released at the end of their sentence.
The initiative, and expanded programming, is being funded in part by a three-year, $375,000 grant recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, $300,000 per year for three years from the City of Hartford’s investment of American Rescue Plan funds, and through ongoing support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. All funding will allow CPA to assist more people, including those on probation and parole, and expand programming to include pre-release services.
“One of my team’s earliest and most important priorities was building the capacity to provide real, meaningful reentry supports to those coming back to our community from incarceration, and we’re thrilled that Community Partners in Action is able to provide even more services at this new, expanded Reentry Welcome Center,” said Mayor Bronin. “Our community is stronger and our neighborhoods are safer when those returning to our community from incarceration have the ability to get a new start and build better lives, and we’re so grateful to have partners like CPA who understand the importance of that work. Since 2018, the Center has been located inside City Hall, and has provided personalized programming and services to hundreds of individuals returning from incarceration. Thanks to the hard work of Reentry Welcome Center staff and dozens of partners, as well as critical financial support from the Hartford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and American Rescue Plan funding, our Reentry Welcome Center can now operate as a true one-stop shop for support services in a much bigger, more welcoming space."
Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center provides a centralized, one-stop hub with case management support and a connection to comprehensive wrap-around services provided by center staff and community partners. Beginning on day one of someone’s release from the CT Department of Correction or by walking in, each person will be welcomed by staff, who provide them with an array of services based on their individualized plan to ensure there is a continuum of care.
"CPA is proud to be a leader in providing case management, vital services, and referrals such as basic needs, employment, and housing assistance, along with referrals for substance abuse and mental health for those returning to the community from prison," said Beth Hines, the organization's executive director. "The new Center will expand programming and enable CPA to continue our strong partnerships with the City of Hartford, the CT Department of Correction, Court Support Services Division of the CT Judicial Branch, and other reentry service providers to help ensure the successful reintegration of people released from prison."
With the support of over 40 community partners, this Center offers individuals on-going support services (basic needs, employment, housing support, healthcare, behavioral health, recovery supports, and so much more) to help ensure a successful transition back to their community. The Center's new location offers additional space to have CPA partners co-locate on-site, providing program participants a direct linkage to a network of support for their successful reentry. The Center also contains several meeting rooms and a computer lab where participants will be able to job search and learn computer skills.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s support for this effort began with an Innovation Grant in 2016, which engaged many of the Reentry Welcome Center’s current partners to examine data and develop a plan. The Foundation provided the operating funding for the initial launch of the Reentry Welcome Center and recognized the need to support the current expansion to fully realize the vision to provide a one-stop center for support and referrals. The Foundation has also supported ongoing evaluation to learn what’s working and what might be improved.
“We are pleased to continue our support of the Reentry Welcome Center, which provides the immediate, stabilizing supports that men and women returning from incarceration need to successfully reintegrate into the community,” said Hartford Foundation President and CEO Jay Williams. “The Foundation applauds the City of Hartford’s longstanding commitment to this effort; this kind of public-private partnership allows us to address complex challenges that no single organization can tackle alone. Community Partners in Action and its many partners understand the intersecting needs around securing transitional and permanent housing, substance abuse, mental and physical health services, as well as employment.”
“Thanks to a significant federal grant and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, Community Partners in Action will be able to provide more immediate and vital support to men and women re-entering society after incarceration,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “The services provided will help them reconnect with their families, rebuild their lives, and reintegrate with their communities. I am proud to have advocated for this funding so that Community Partners in Action and their partner organizations can continue providing this meaningful assistance and support to people who need it.”
“A criminal sentence shouldn't be a permanent housing death sentence. A criminal sentence shouldn't be a permanent employment death sentence. But it often is for too many people here in Hartford. CPA is doing the hard work of making sure that everybody that gets out of prison in Hartford has an easy place to go and find the help that they need. We've constructed a bureaucracy in this country where there's often an alphabet soup of agencies that are all there to be helpful, but are often inaccessible for individuals who just went through one of the most traumatic experiences that anyone could go through: arrest and incarceration. By putting all of this in one accessible place, it's an absolute difference maker,” said Senator Murphy.
“Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center plays a critical role in integrating residents back into society. I was proud to be a part of the Congressional delegation’s efforts to secure a federal grant and nearly $1 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to support the services residents need to re-start their lives coming out of incarceration,” said U.S. Rep. John B. Larson.