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Mayor Wu announced a heat emergency in the City of Boston through Wednesday, July 17. Cooling centers will be open at 14 BCYF community centers Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Applications Open for Rapid Rehousing Grant to Support Boston's Returning Citizens

$1,100,000 in grants available for Fiscal Years 2024-26 to nonprofit agencies dedicated to providing rapid rehousing services for Boston's returning citizens.


Mayor Michelle Wu, together with the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens (ORC), announced today the opening of applications for the Rapid Rehousing (RRH) program. This innovative grant aims to meet the housing needs of Boston’s returning citizens—those who are returning to Boston after being released from county, state, or federal correctional facilities. The total allocation of $1,100,000 for Fiscal Years 2024-26 will provide critical housing support including rental assistance, intensive case management, housing locator/search services, and other housing related services.

“Every Bostonian deserves affordable, accessible housing. The Rapid Rehousing program will empower our returning citizens to not just reintegrate but also thrive in their communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m excited to see how these grants will support the City’s mission to build trust and rapport with constituents in our efforts to combat recidivism.”

With this grant, the ORC is not only focusing on housing but also encouraging applicant organizations to build comprehensive support systems that will help returning citizens to stay stably housed. The programs should be designed to accommodate the various needs of the returning citizens, including financial literacy, job training, health care access, legal advocacy, family reunification, and educational services.

“We are excited to be able to work with our non-profit partners to provide housing support to returning citizens,” said David Mayo, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens. “Stable housing is key to preventing recidivism and this boost of support will help many to get back on their feet.”

Housing is the number one priority and challenge for returning citizens returning home to Boston from incarceration. According to the Boston Reentry Study completed by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute, more than one in three of all returning citizens are either unhoused or living in unstable housing six months after release from prison; after one year, nearly half of returning citizens are unhoused or living in unstable housing. The RRH grant provides critical support to housing returning citizens, especially as rents continue to rise in the City of Boston.

The RRH grant will provide for a step-down approach to rental assistance, initially covering up to 100 percent of the rent and gradually reducing the percentage depending on the participant’s ability to pay. This is the first ever Rapid Rehousing grant to target services to formerly incarcerated Boston residents. 

“This grant opportunity is another example of Boston seeing a need and meeting it through an innovative partnership strategy,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services. “We look forward to launching this program later this year and connecting more returning citizens to housing resources.”

Applications for the Rapid Rehousing Grant are now open, with proposals due by October 25, 2023. Interested applicants can attend the RC-Rapid Rehousing Application virtual information session on September 6, 2023, from 9 to 11 a.m. Those interested can register for the information session here. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will be administered through a competitive process. Registered non-profit organizations are invited to apply, with awards likely ranging from $550,000 to $1,100,000 depending on the application and the capacity of the organization. The ORC expects to announce awards later this fall. 

The Office of Returning Citizens understands the importance of addressing barriers, advocacy, and fostering strong partnerships to create positive social impact and collaborative initiatives. The Office envisions a Boston where returning citizens can return to their families, flourish in their communities, and regain their sense of dignity. For more information about ORC resources, visit here.

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