Article written by Akash Kaza and edited by Julia Casey
Today, Mayor Luke Bronin and Community Partners in Action (CPA) joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, advocates, partners, participants, and state and local leaders to cut the ribbon on the expanded, improved Reentry Welcome Center (RWC) in Hartford at its new location at 716 Windsor Street. The expanded center provides case management and wrap around services to those currently and recently incarcerated.
“Our community is stronger, and our neighborhoods are safer when those returning to our community from incarceration have the ability to get a new start and build better lives, and we’re so grateful to have partners like CPA who understand the importance of that work,” said Mayor Bronin. “Thanks to the hard work of Reentry Welcome Center staff and dozens of partners, as well as critical financial support from the Hartford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and American Rescue Plan funding, our Reentry Welcome Center can now operate as a true one-stop shop for support services in a much bigger, more welcoming space.”
Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center provides a centralized, one-stop hub with case management support and a connection to comprehensive wrap-around services provided by center staff and community partners. The Center’s new location at Windsor Street offers additional space to have CPA partners co-locate on-site, providing program participants a direct linkage to a network of support for their successful reentry.
“CPA is proud to be a leader in providing case management, vital services, and referrals for basic needs, employment, and housing assistance, along with help for substance abuse and mental health for those returning to the community from prison,” said Beth Hines, the organization’s executive director. “The new Center will expand programming and enable CPA to continue our strong partnerships with the City of Hartford, the CT Department of Correction, Court Support Services Division of the CT Judicial Branch, and other reentry service providers to help ensure the successful reintegration of people released from prison.”
Senator Chris Murphy shared his commitment to advocating for the funding that helped to make the expanded reentry central possible. “A criminal sentence shouldn’t be a permanent housing death sentence. A criminal sentence shouldn’t be a permanent employment death sentence. But it often is for too many people here in Hartford. CPA is doing the hard work of making sure that everybody that gets out of prison in Hartford has an easy place to go and find the help that they need,” said Senator Murphy.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s support for this effort began with an Innovation Grant in 2016, which engaged many of the Reentry Welcome Center’s current partners to examine data and develop a plan. The Foundation provided the operating funding for the initial launch of the Reentry Welcome Center and recognized the need to support the current expansion to fully realize the vision to provide a one-stop center for support and referrals. The Foundation has also supported ongoing evaluation to learn what’s working and what might be improved.
Program attendees also heard from two of Community Partners in Action clients, Peter Diaz and Cassandra Johnson. By taking full advantage of all the available resources— including the unwavering support of their CPA case managers — both Peter and Cassandra have created a second chance at life.