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Mayor Wu and the Office of Returning Citizens Announce $1 Million in Grant Funds Available to Nonprofit Organizations Serving Boston's Returning Citizens

Mayor Michelle Wu, the Office of Human Services (OHS), and the Office of Returning Citizens (ORC) announce applications are now open for the 2023 Returning Citizens Support (RCS) grant. The RCS grant is a competitive grant aimed at supporting non-profit organizations that provide reentry support services to individuals who are returning to Boston after being released from federal, state, or county correctional facilities. 

A total of $1,000,000 will be awarded to Boston nonprofit organizations providing a variety of services to returning citizens with the goal of creating a network of organizations that can aid returning citizens toward a successful reentry. Applications are now open and responses are due January 6, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. 

“Whether it be housing or peer mentoring, the work that our partners do in providing a pathway is vital in supporting Boston’s returning citizens,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We are excited for this opportunity to support the work that these organizations do for our communities.” 

"It is critical that we support grassroots and community-based organizations, especially those run by formerly incarcerated people themselves, that are doing the work to help address the needs and success of our residents returning home, who too often continue to be failed by our systems,” said Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune. “My office was glad to advocate for these funds alongside community, and we are happy to see the Administration execute on this vision." 

“This funding will go a long way to support our partners in the community that have a passion for helping returning citizens succeed in Boston,” said José Massó, Chief of Human Services. “The network of programs funded through this opportunity will help the Office of Returning Citizens to achieve its goal of meeting the unique needs of each returning citizen in the community.”  

“We are excited to be able to partner with the ecosystem of community-based organizations in Boston that are providing high quality services to Boston’s returning citizens,” said David Mayo, Director of the Office of Returning Citizens. “When these organizations thrive, so do our returning citizens.”

Eligible programs will include those that provide reentry and integration services to individuals returning to Boston from federal, state, or county correctional facilities. For the purposes of this grant opportunity, reentry and integration services may include but are not limited to peer mentoring, family reunification, community stability, food assistance, economic independence, and housing stability. Programs that serve women and LGBTQIA+ returning citizens and those that are led by returning citizens are strongly encouraged to apply. 

This new funding comes from the Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget of the Office of Returning Citizens and aims to increase the number and variety of programs that contribute to preventing recidivism among Boston’s returning citizens. Each year, over 3,000 individuals return to Boston from federal, state and county prisons and jails with the burden falling disproportionately on communities of color. Returning citizens often need housing, employment and connections to physical and mental health services, among other needs. Nearly all returning citizens have a chronic medical condition that requires ongoing treatment, only one in four returning citizens has a high school diploma, and 91 percent are food insecure. Those returning have a better chance of achieving a successful reentry if they are provided with supports that help them get connected to these key services.    

For Fiscal Year 2023, the Office of Returning Citizens has a $2.67 million operating budget. This historic investment has enabled the ORC to hire five additional staff members and to build more robust support in the areas of housing, workforce development, and case management for returning citizens. The grant application is available online. Applications must be completed by January 6, 2023 at 4:00pm. 

The Office of Returning Citizens was established in 2017. Its services include in-person case management with program and intake coordinators, peer mentorships, and warm referrals to key programs and services, including transitional housing, employment, healthcare, education, and legal services. Between the Office’s inception in 2017 and today, the number of yearly clients served by the Office has increased by more than 700 percent.

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