Securing safe, reliable, affordable housing is a significant barrier to those re-entering the community after serving time in prison or jail. To address that barrier, EDEN and FrontLine Service are piloting a new program called Returning Home Cuyahoga. Through Returning Home Cuyahoga, EDEN and FrontLine will initially support 15 persons exiting Cuyahoga County Jail with comprehensive services designed to find, secure, and maintain stable housing, thereby supporting their successful re-entry to the community. The program is based on the Housing First model, a revolutionary approach to addressing chronic homelessness that has been adopted nationwide.

Participants in the program will be referred by jail staff; there is no public application process. Participants must be currently incarcerated in the Cuyahoga County Jail, on the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities docket, and homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness if not for intervention, with frequent incarcerations (eight or more in the last 365 days), high utilization of the shelter system and/or emergency hospitalization, and a primary/axis I mental health diagnosis.

Returning Home Cuyahoga is based on Returning Home Ohio, which focuses on securing housing for persons returning from federal prison. The program is advised by the Stepping Up Housing Committee, which consists of the Common Pleas Court, the Cuyahoga County Probation Department, the Cuyahoga County Jail, Frontline Service, EDEN, the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office, the Office of Homeless Services, Coordinated Intake, local shelters, CSG, and the ADAMHS Board. A Technical Assistance Grant was obtained through Stepping Up Ohio and Peg’s Foundation.