In Indiana, there are fewer than 100 beds of work-release housing for women that are not located on prison grounds, and even less available transitional housing. Yet over 1,500 women are released from the state’s prisons annually. Despite a critical need for housing, women are a lower priority than men.
Formerly incarcerated women are holistically underserved upon release, but now more than ever due to COVID-19. They are returning to a society that has been upended in every way, and face great hardship, especially in terms of housing and employment. The recidivism rate for women in Indiana is more than 32%. That discouraging figure reflects how difficult it is to re-enter society unaided after spending years in prison. For many, their main allies are our community of post-incarcerated women; as such, we are dedicated to providing, a safe and welcoming place to land.
We at Constructing Our Future (COF) are committed to providing safe transitional housing to women in Indianapolis and supporting those who are eager to build independent and successful lives. Unlike, short-term housing, we invest in each woman up to two years with the understanding that it takes times to build a foundation by transitioning into employment, saving money, and finding stable long-term housing.
We recognize that for women to be successful after leaving incarceration, they need more than just safe housing. They need an individualized plan to prepare them for life and employment on the outside. By partnering with local organizations, women can receive employment and financial literacy coaching in addition to mental health services and recovery tools, while COF can effectively support our residents by meeting their housing needs and serving a sounding board.