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Housing for Female Ex-Prisoners and their Children

Mar 13th, 2008

Peg Bortner, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Community Resources and Development
Arizona State University

Recipient of Stardust Center Seed Grant, 2006-2007

The affordable housing dilemmas prevalent throughout society, especially structural barriers to gaining and maintaining affordable housing, are magnified for women who are ex-prisoners. For the vast majority, “housing and home” are major goals and symbols of successful return to society. Housing is envisioned primarily in terms of human relationships. When asked, “What is the best housing situation you can imagine?” the women focus on the pivotal role that stable, affordable housing plays in their ability to repair, reestablish, or for some, build successful relationships with their children and families for the first time.

This research explored the experiences and opinions of housing and employment for women released from prison. The project included 40 in-depth interviews and a survey of 140 ex-prisoners. It focused on housing histories, housing at community re-entry, and future aspirations, especially those related to their children.

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