252853 Recovery and reentry in the context of supportive transitional housing: Stories of structural intervention in housing

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Suzanne M. Dolwick Grieb, PhD, MSPH , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Horace Smith , Group Ministries Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Jonathan Ellen, MD , Division of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Background: The cycling of community members through the judicial system destabilizes housing in communities affected by high rates of incarceration, and even short prison terms can be detrimental to housing stability. Housing stability, quality of the house, and neighborhood factors are critical to health in general as well as to reentry and recovery in particular. This study aimed to better understand participant's perceptions of their transitional housing experience in a neighborhood with high concentrations of ex-offenders, and to explore the ways that participation has affected the residents as they continue their recovery and transition back into their communities. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 male residents with histories of incarceration and substance abuse living in transitional houses in west Baltimore in May and June 2011. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed through the constant comparison method. Results: Several themes emerged, including the mental and physical exhaustion of their previous lifestyles and need to be ready for change, financial burdens of housing, the importance of supportive mentoring in the house, housemates as extended family, the role of biological family as supportive but unable to adequately cope with the participant's situation, and the desire to help other community members in similar situations. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the importance of supportive transitional housing as community members reenter their communities and attempt to stay off of drugs. The organization operating the transitional houses is small and provides a structured but family-like environment that the men felt was critical to their success.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the barriers to housing faced by ex-offenders 2. Identify important elements to transitional housing from the perspective of men residing in transitional houses

Keywords: Housing, Incarceration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the interview guides, completed the interviews, and participated in the qualitative data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.