Restorative Justice Housing Ontario (RJHO) (www.rjho.ca) provides accommodation for people coming from prison who have no family or friends to live with on their release. Stable housing is highly correlated with a reduction of recidivism but an estimated thirty percent of people coming from prison (roughly 3,000 a year) into Metro Toronto have no place to go.
RJHO provides rent-geared-to-income for former inmates who wish to live in a community setting… sharing responsibilities for the maintenance of the residence, meeting with other residents for a common weekly meal, doing volunteer work in the community such as working at Daily Bread Food Bank or clearing snow from neighbours walkways. In addition they have to agree to a code of conduct that includes no drugs or alcohol on site, participation in community activities and respect for others in the home.
Volunteers support reintegration into the community in a variety of ways such as showing the residents how to use the transit system, helping them open a bank account, obtaining identification, or going to medical appointments with them or for bike rides, among other ways. RJHOs welcomes people with special skills, such as web management, cooking, fund-raising, or musical talent either as trained volunteers or partners on specific projects or events. Covid restrictions have hindered many volunteer and community contacts but as the restrictions lift, hopefully there will be more opportunities for people to see the program in action.
As of late 2021 there are three residences for men with space for a total of 15 residents. Funding has been received for a women’s residence and suitable locations are being sought and a job description for a coordinator of women’s residences is being developed. For mor information contact Michael Van Dusen at firstname.lastname@example.org