Supporting Formerly Incarcerated, Homeless Oregonians at High Risk of Recidivating

Practice Area: Diversion and Reentry Scope: County Location: OR Status: Closed

Project Overview

Third Sector supported a Lane County partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development & U.S. Department of Justice in the first Permanent Supportive Housing project in the county to help formerly incarcerated, homeless Oregonians who are at high risk of recidivating. Led by Homes for Good Housing Agency, Sponsors, Inc. and Lane County Parole and Probation, The Way Home will serve 125 Oregonians struggling with homelessness over the next few years.


Whether you're Black or White, Asian or Latino, Native or newcomer every person should have a safe place to call home and build memories with their family. Housing provides security, stability, and social benefits that any other type of support cannot fulfill. We need an address to fill out a job application, enroll in school, keep our self and belongings safe, and so much more. Without housing and critical community support, it is nearly impossible to achieve other successful life outcomes is nearly impossible. But for too long, we've failed to provide this very support to people who have been incarcerated and often struggle to find a permanent place to live. 

And as a result, too many of them recidivate. In Oregon, people returning home to Lane County after prison release are reincarcerated with a new felony conviction 30% of the time within three years of release, with more than 50% struggling to find adequate housing,  and all wind up using costly health care and emergency room services.


Lane County Homes for Good, the county housing agency; Lane County Parole & Probation (P&P), a division of Lane County Administration that oversees +2,500 adults on supervision and provides related programming; and Sponsors, Inc., the leading community organization in Lane County providing reentry, housing, and employment services formed The Way Home Reentry Collaborative to expand limited funding opportunities to serve high needs populations and better serve clients with overlapping justice, homelessness, and health care needs. For more than 20 years, they have worked together to develop affordable housing for people with criminal histories. The partnership has been recognized nationally for developing model programs that utilize evidence-based practices to reduce homelessness and recidivism.

In 2018, Third Sector was brought on by the collaborative as a project manager to help secure federal funding from a highly competitive $1.3 million federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)  grant for the Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Demonstration. Together they implemented an outcomes contract where County partners can use unrestricted funds for any housing or living need to the extent The Way Home met specific housing stability and reincarceration reduction benchmarks within 18 months of a person's enrollment. Third Sector designed an outcomes contract establishing a flexible housing model to provide Housing First PSH services "scattered sites" in dedicated PSH buildings, public and affordable housing units, private market rentals, or "Tiny Homes." Third Sector also developed a continuous improvement process for all government and community partners to integrate arrest, incarceration, housing tenancy, Medicaid, and program participation data so that The Way Home can monitor its key performance indicators and anticipate any enrollment, retention, and well-being challenges on a recurring basis.


Starting in 2018, the Way Home provided Housing First PSH to individuals with conviction histories in Lane County. Sponsors, Homes for Good, and P&P provided case management services to 125 Oregonians struggling with homelessness, formerly incarcerated in state prison, and at a medium to high risk to recidivate. The program prioritized women, veterans, and those excluded from federal funding/programs (e.g., sex crimes). PSH services include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), counseling, substance use disorder treatment, and legal and workforce training support. More than 90% of program participants remain permanently housed with initial or new leases, and less than 5% have been reincarcerated for a new felony. The Way Home will remain operational with state, county, and philanthropic funds.

Practice area:

Diversion and Reentry

Third Sector works with our government agencies and communities to shift our criminal-legal system toward diversion and community-based models that make housing and support services more accessible to all.
Project NameScopeLocationStatus
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