A newly renovated house in Brunswick will soon serve as a transitional home for those coming out of jail or prison and especially in need of support finding permanent stability.
The Gateway Community Service Board will soon launch its Re-Entry Partnership Housing program, which will provide housing to qualified individuals under parole or probation supervision of the Georgia Department of Community Supervision who do not have valid residence plans.
“It is accepting anyone out of jail or prison that is under state supervision that has severe, persistent mental illness and that doesn’t have a stable place to go, doesn’t have a supportive family or somewhere to help them basically not go back to jail,” said Katie Hagin, supportive housing/homeless assistance program manager for Gateway.
The Re-Entry Partnership program is a partnership between Gateway, the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Department of Community Supervision and the Department of Community Affairs.
Gateway hosted an open house event Thursday at the three-bedroom home that will house the program’s participants. They’ll be able to live there for up to six months as they receive services from Gateway’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team.
“We’re working in conjunction with the ACT team,” Hagin said. “They will be providing the services to make sure that they have a permanent place to go.”
The house was recently renovated by workers through the Open Doors program hosted by local nonprofit FaithWorks. Gateway is leasing the house for this new program.
“We’re starting here with three. We’re extremely open to expanding, depending on the referrals that come in,” Hagin said. "If we get an influx of referrals, and we see that we’ll be able to keep beds full, we will expand.”
The open house event provided community partners a chance to see the house and learn more about the referral process.
Those who will be qualified for referral to the program will be people released from jail or prison within 120 days, who are under state supervision through probation or parol and meet the qualifications for mental health level 3 care provided by the ACT team.
“We go through getting referrals from the Department of Corrections. That’ll come straight from people that are still in prison, getting ready for release,” Hagin said. “And we’ll take referrals from any community partners.”
The ultimate goal is to help program participants find stable living and permanent employment or support, Hagin said, so they will not return to jail or prison.
“A lot of times, they get denied parole or probation because they have nowhere to go,” she said. “So if there’s nowhere to put them, instead of just putting them out on the street, they’ll just deny them and keep them.”