These Actions Will Support the Decarceration of Rikers Island, Reduce Racial Disparities, and End the Cycle of Homelessness

The Time To Act Is Now!

Several thousand people experiencing homelessness and struggling with unmet behavioral health needs are incarcerated on Rikers Island.

When released, these community members struggle to find adequate support, cycle through crisis systems (including shelter and emergency departments), and likely return to Rikers Island. This group needs an intervention of supportive housing — a combination of affordable housing with voluntary, individualized services — to reenter society and thrive.

Today, the CSH Metro Team released a report, "Advancing Supportive Housing Solutions to Reduce Homelessness for People Impacted by the Criminal Legal System, A Report for New York City Leaders," providing recommendations to address the ongoing crisis.

This report lays out immediate actions the Eric Adams' Mayoral Administration, the Affordable Housing Leadership team, and New York City Council should take in 2022 to make humane, innovative, and fiscally responsible policy changes and investments in supportive housing.

View the Full Report

It would cost NYC $1.4B less annually to house the estimated 2,589 people incarcerated on Rikers Island compared to incarcerating the same number of people in one year!

This report outlines the fiscal costs of supportive housing to serve the criminal-legal impacted population, with key actions focused on:

  1. Significant Investment in Supportive Housing

  2. Improving Access to Supportive Housing

  3. Increasing transparency by creating a reliable data and reporting infrastructure with key city agencies

These investments will support the decarceration of Rikers Island, reduce significant racial disparities in the criminal legal and homeless systems and end the cycle of homelessness and institutionalization for an estimated 2,589 people in one year struggling with untreated or complex behavioral health needs who are incarcerated on Rikers Island!

CSH looks forward to working with NYC leaders on implementing these recommendations to help fellow New Yorkers while also making our city safer.

Decarcerationing Rikers Island and Advancing Solutions To Reduce Homelessness