Today, Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) Executive Director, Richard Monocchio, announced a new housing pilot program in collaboration with the Circuit Court of Cook County. Throughout the year, HACC will issue 25 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV’s) to graduates of the RAP/WRAP Programs experiencing housing instability.
“Housing is one of the biggest barriers facing the reentry community today,” said Monocchio. “If we are to expect the formerly incarcerated to successfully re-integrate into society, a safe, stable and affordable place to land is critical – especially for those with behavioral health issues. HACC is proud to begin working with graduates of this special program so that they may fully recover, and reach their highest potential.”
Established in 1998, the Rehabilitation Alternative Probation (RAP) Program and the Women’s Rehabilitation Alternative Probation (WRAP) were created to provide an alternative to standard probation procedures. The purpose of the program is to assist non-violent substance abusing offenders in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and readjustment to the community. Participants are provided with comprehensive substance abuse treatment, access to gender and culturally specific services, increased judicial contact, intensive supervision and continuing post-release treatment, and counseling. It is currently one of the largest drug courts in Illinois, with approximately 225 participants supervised each year, yet over 50 percent of graduates enter the program without a stable housing option upon release.
In an effort to address this gap, HACC has begun to administer HCV’s to program graduates facing barriers in securing and maintaining stable housing. Recipients will be provided rental assistance for quality housing in the private market through federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“Recipients of the HCV’s will be able to go to the private market knowing that they will be able to afford a safe and stable home,” said Monocchio. “While our partnership is still in its infancy, similar pilots across the country have shown that our efforts will help bring down recidivism rates and lead to healthier outcomes for our clients and the larger community.”