Transitional housing programs

Transitional housing programs are temporary programs that offer housing and services. Keep in mind they usually have requirements you have to meet before you can move in, and there are usually waitlists.

Examples of transitional housing programs include: shared or private apartments, residential programs that allow for temporary stays (from 3 months to 2 years) at no cost or at a low cost, and sober living environments (SLE) (read more about SLEs on PG. 351). Some transitional housing programs also have services like job training, counseling, general education development (“GED”) programs, and computer classes. Some transitional housing programs are for people with specific needs such as mental health support, addiction treatment and recovery (see PG. 351), or safety from domestic violence (see PG. 348).

Can I get into a transitional housing program if I am still incarcerated?

It depends on the program. Unfortunately, most post-release transitional housing programs will not let you fill out an application or get on the waitlist before your release. A few let you apply from inside prison or jail, but may have other requirements or restrictions. Go to Appendix B on PG. 409 for a partial list of transitional housing options in California that may accept residents who write to them from inside prison or jail.

BUT NOTE: In recent years, the CDCR has introduced several pre-release transitional housing programs designed to let people to carry out the last part of their sentence in a controlled community setting.These are alternatives to traditional incarceration that typically provide for greater freedom. Participants remain under the CDCR’s jurisdiction and control and are NOT on parole or other post-release supervision. In that sense, these programs are very different from the posts-release housing options discussed here. For more information on CDCR-sponsored pre-release programs see PG. 345.

What may I need to get to be accepted into transitional housing?

It depends—each program has different requirements. You might need: identification (learn how to get different types of identification in the BUILDING BLOCKS OF REENTRY: ID & VOTING, beginning on PG. 22); proof of homelessness; proof of any income; proof of your sobriety; police clearance; to get through the waitlist; to have an interview; etc. It’s best to CALL (or if you’re currently incarcerated, ask a family member or friend to call, or WRITE the program a letter with your request) to find out well in advance of when you want to move exactly what you need to do and what the requirements are!