The City of Boston, HUD and the Department of Justice are teaming up to help formerly incarcerated juveniles re-acclimate to society, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office said.
Mayor Walsh announced the $100,000 program, funded through the DOJ’s Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program, in a press release on April 28. Funding will help Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and the Greater Boston Legal Services Inc. assist juveniles who have been through the justice system find work and housing.
The Department of Justice has used its Second Chance Act funds to assist public housing authorities nationwide who have partnerships with nonprofit legal-service organizations with experience providing services to juveniles, the press release read.
“Having a juvenile or a criminal record can severely limit a person’s ability to seek higher education, find good employment or secure affordable housing,” the press release read. “Today, there are nearly 55,000 individuals under age 21 in juvenile justice facilities in the United States, and approximately 185,000 young adults aged 18 to 24 in state and federal prisons. These collateral consequences create unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity.”
The DOJ’s Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program works with individuals up to the age of 24 who have juvenile or criminal records, the press release read. The program helps these individuals obtain work or housing by expunging, sealing and/or correcting juvenile or adult records, as permitted by state law. It also assists targeted youth to mitigate the collateral consequences of their criminal records, such as reinstating revoked or suspended drivers’ licenses. It also offers counseling related to legal rights and obligations and provides guidance for readmission to school.
“This funding will help break down barriers that prevent young people from finding work, getting into school or finding an affordable place to live,” said Kristine Foye, regional administrator of HUD New England. “We look forward to working with our partners in Boston to open these doors to opportunity.”