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State yanks felon housing grant

Post by David Seago on Jan. 31, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
January 31, 2008 1:39 pm

We’ve just learned that state officials have withdrawn its conditional approval for a controversial $1.1 millon grant for housing released prison inmates in Tacoma and Pierce County.

The state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development announced the decision today in letters to C4RJ and the Tacoma City Council.

The letter (PDF file here) cited a number of deficiencies in the group’s application.

The move comes as no surprise to the ed board, which met for two hours with C4RJ leaders Carl D. Jones and Edryce Reynolds Wednesday afternoon.

Aside from the descrepancies in the group’s grant application, it appeared to us that C4RJ, a small, all-volunteer group with a budget of no more than $25,000, is woefully unprepared to manage a much larger program intended to provide housing and support for 70 ex-inmates.

We support the goals of the grant program, which aims to help newly released inmates succeeed on re-entry to the community and reduce recidivism. But it’s obvious that the community infrastructure for this kind of initiative is lacking and may need to be built from the ground up — very carefully and deliberately, with outreach to the neighborhoods where the “clients” will be placed.

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