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New program allows ex-offenders to move in with family members in public housing

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

A new pilot program in Delaware seeks to reduce recidivism.

State and local housing authorities recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Delaware Department of Correction and the Delaware Center for Justice. 

The MOU formalizes a new family reentry pilot program allowing ex-offenders released in the last three years or in the future to move in with a family member currently in public housing for up to two years as a guest. The previous guest policy was for no more than 14 days. 

“So for the individual who is being released or has been released it gives them a place to stay and we know housing is one of the main obstacles flagged when a person is being discharged,” said Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority Anas Ben Addi. 

Under the new program, Ben Addi says the person living in public housing can decide whether or not they want to take in the newly released family member and can decide at any time if that person needs to leave. The income of the guest would not be factored into the subsidy for public housing.

“Also, if things don’t go right, since the person is not party to the lease, the family can ask the person to leave and not change the legal structure of the lease,” said Ben Addi.

The Delaware Center for Justice will offer case management for the ex-offenders in the program.

The project is being coordinated with the national policy think tank the Vera Institute of Justice.

Ben Addi says the program starts in days and will be evaluated for expansion.