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Tulsa Selected to Participate In New Initiative to Break Link Between Housing Instability, Incarceration

This article was archived on 8/5/2022

Tulsa has been selected as one of four communities/entities to participate in the launch of the Just Home Project, a national program designed to advance community-driven efforts to break the link between housing instability and jail incarceration.  

The Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO) is the lead applicant in Tulsa for the project whose work through the grant is supported by a broad range of community partners in behavioral health, housing policy, and criminal justice who have helped lay the foundation for this work. 

“When we look at data on the drivers of homelessness and housing insecurity in Tulsa, the impact of incarceration becomes glaringly apparent,” said Kian Kamas, TAEO Executive Director. “We are honored to have the opportunity to work alongside key partners in Tulsa who have been deeply engaged in criminal justice policy and programs, and who are committed to partnering in new and innovative ways to identify housing solutions for some of Tulsa’s most vulnerable residents, with the goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration. We know that housing is critical to any individual’s long-term economic success, and are excited to learn from the three other communities in this initiative as we collectively seek to develop targeted housing investment action plans for justice-involved residents.” 

The initiative is led by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Urban Institute. TAEO’s selection includes an initial nearly $370,000 grant from MacArthur to create a plan to address the impact of incarceration on housing instability in Tulsa, along with technical assistance and coordination provided by the Urban Institute.   

Following a planning process, TAEO will be eligible to receive an investment from MacArthur from a $15 million pool of impact investment funds to implement plans and acquire or develop housing for populations that are not being served by current housing resources. 

“We are honored and excited to join our partners who are already working at the intersections of race, class, and justice to break the cycles of negative outcomes for formerly incarcerated persons who are disproportionately people of color," said Jonathan Butler, TAEO's Senior Vice President of Community Development. "The MacArthur Foundation’s generous support will help us center those with lived experiences in designing a Housing Investment Action Plan that accounts for the needs of these individuals and helps break continuous cycles of housing instability for so many Tulsans."

In addition to Tulsa, other communities selected for the Just Home Project include Charleston County, South Carolina; Minnehaha County, South Dakota; City and County of San Francisco, California. Each jurisdiction will work alongside key housing and criminal justice partners to develop and implement cross-organizational strategies to break the cycle of homelessness and ultimately incarceration in their communities.  

All four communities will have the opportunity to receive additional support from MacArthur in the form of an impact investment, which expand MacArthur’s capacity to achieve its philanthropic goals.  

By coupling grant funding with investment capital, this demonstration project seeks to unlock local government innovation, absorb risk that housing providers are hesitant to take, and provide much-needed support for people in danger of remaining trapped in a cycle of housing instability and jail.