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Strengthening connections among criminal justice agencies, behavioral health organizations, and the community to improve wellbeing for people with mental health conditions or co-occurring substance use disorders.


Research suggests that up to 45 percent of people experiencing homelessness have one or more mental health conditions, and people who have been incarcerated experience homelessness at 7 times the rate of people who have not.

Unfortunately, finding safe, stable housing can be one of the most significant challenges people face when returning from incarceration—in fact, there are more than 1,000 laws and regulations across the U.S. that can make it difficult for people who have criminal records to access housing. JMHCP funding and assistance can help communities increase access to safe and affordable housing, including by developing supportive housing, to reduce criminal justice system involvement for people with behavioral health conditions. 

Action Points: Four Steps to Expand Access to Housing for People in the Justice System with Behavioral Health Needs

Collaboration Spotlight

At the Interfaith Shelter Network, we work from a housing first model to assist people in fulfilling basic needs while connecting them to supportive services. We facilitate service coordination and aim to teach our clients how to navigate mental health care, basic needs, income resources, and housing. One of our greatest successes came from a client who was in the pretrial release program funded by JMHCP for close to a year. That client was able to maintain sobriety for the first time in their adult life, as they were connected to psychiatric care and the proper medications and permanently housed independently, also for the first time in their life. The client successfully completed the program and continued pursuing higher education.

Kaitlyn Dunaway, Program Manager, Interfaith Shelter Network, Inc,  Santa Rose, California (FY2018 JMHCP Grant Awardee)

Selected Resources

Key Staff

Charles Francis

Charles Francis

Deputy Program Director, Behavioral Health

Charles Francis oversees work at the intersection of housing, criminal justice, and behavioral health. He focuses on strategies for state and local partners to increase access to and availability of housing to reduce justice system involvement and facilitate successful reentry, as well as effective law enforcement and community responses to homelessness. Previously, Charley was assistant director of Leased Housing at Rhode Island Housing and director of Policy for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. At the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he played a lead role in implementing the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Charley holds an MPP from the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University and a BA from Hamilton College.

Thomas Coyne

Thomas Coyne

Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health

Thomas Coyne provides technical assistance to jurisdictions addressing the housing needs of people with mental illnesses who are involved with the criminal justice system. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, he worked on health and housing policy with the Health & Housing Integration team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He brings field experience from social work, having worked extensively with people who have serious mental illnesses in Washington, DC, as well as with families reuniting with their children from foster care in Michigan. Thomas earned his BS in criminal justice and BA in sociology from Madonna University and his MPP from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University.

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