City officials estimate that over one fifth of Philadelphia’s population has been incarcerated and holds a criminal record.1
As citizens return home from the prison system, they face major roadblocks in securing employment, accessing social services, and navigating a social, economic, and political system that largely rejects and stigmatizes them long after they have served their sentence.2
FRP sees workforce development as a peace-building and community healing initiative.
Home repair and its associated industries, as well as other careers supporting Philadelphia’s growing population, stand to grow over the next ten years. We believe that stabilizing marginalized communities is possible by provisioning individuals returning from incarceration with social support through holistic case management, mentoring programs, specialized training, and employment.
In 2015, Friends’ “Revive and Restore” initiative funded by STAR court and the Eastern District allowed us to hire and train nine reentry participants to renovate nine building units in the city’s Strawberry Mansion section, creating affordable housing for 13 families. This was triple the original projection of renovating only three homes. Residents included in that group are four ex-offenders, six residents who are HIV-positive, and two families with children.
In 2016 Revive and Restore participants have been assisting FRP in renovating dilapidated affordable housing units in the Belmont neighborhood.
1 City Council, Chief Clerk’s Office. 2011. BILL NO. 110111-A (As Amended on Floor 3/24/2011)
2Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, NY: New Press, 2010