For 45 years the Fortune Society has been helping formerly incarcerated people with a variety of services aimed at successful reentry. Beside barriers to employment, perhaps the biggest obstacle facing newly released prisoners is a safe and affordable place to live. Stepping up to help meet that challenge, the Fortune Society created Castel Gardens, a “green” development in West Harlem, New York, that provides 90,000 square feet of residential living space for those who were involved in the criminal justice system, as well as 20,000 square feet of service space that houses a multitude of support services for residents.
According to the Fortune Society, Castel Garden was designed to include:
50 supportive studio apartments for homeless individuals with a history of involvement in the criminal justice system
13 supportive family apartments for homeless families with at least one member formerly
50 family-oriented affordable apartments for the greater community
The site also includes an apartment for a live-in superintendant.
Reentry Centralcovered the opening of Castel Gardens, remarking on the landscaped roof top terraces, library, computer lab, green design and other features that make the space both functional and progressive (see Reentry Housing Provides Hope, Encouragement to the Formerly Incarcerated, 09-17-2010).
In order to share information with those who are working to provide housing opportunities to criminal justice involved individuals, the Fortune Society is offering a tool-kit that includes valuable information on creating successful transitional housing. Topics discussed include:
suggestions on how to garner community support
building management issues
The Fortune Society also comments on the “Triple Bottom Line,” goals achieved by the development of Castel Gardens:
Housing and supportive services for Fortune’s client population
A financially sustainable building and services
The benefit to the local community