The MOVE program seeks to facilitate successful reintegration among formerly incarcerated individuals and to lessen the risk of recidivism by using free housing subsidies to provide an opportunity for newly released prisoners to move away from their old neighborhoods.
In order to evaluate the efficacy of the program, MOVE has been implemented as a randomized controlled trial. Participation in the program is completely voluntary. Participants are recruited while incarcerated, as they are preparing for their release. Individuals who enroll in the program will be entered into a drawing to receive a free housing subsidy for six-months, with the subsidy to be located in a location different from where the participant resided prior to imprisonment. For instance, residents of Baltimore City prior to imprisonment may be eligible to receive a subsidy for housing in Prince George’s County, MD. Residents of Prince George’s County may be eligible to receive a housing subsidy in Baltimore City. Accordingly, the program is an opportunity for individuals interested in having a fresh start in a new city to have free housing for a period of six months.
Like the flip of a coin, the lottery will be used to randomly decide whether (1) a participant receives a housing subsidy, or (2) does not receive a housing subsidy. Given the barriers to housing for people with criminal records, there are more formerly incarcerated individuals who need housing than we can provide through a single program. In the interest of fairly deciding who we can serve, and for the benefit of conducting a rigorous evaluation, we use a randomized lottery to decide who receives the free housing subsidy.
The exact amount of the housing subsidy depends upon the cost of living in the metropolitan area where a participant will reside. For instance, data from the latest American Community Survey indicates that the median rent is $808/month in Baltimore and $1,326/month in Prince George’s County. The housing subsidy will be paid directly by the program to a landlord or mortgage lender, not as a cash payment to program participants or their family.
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Photo Source: “Chesapeake Bay Bridge with Sail Boat” flickr photo by Andrew Griffith; https://flickr.com/photos/140034174@N05/26284419521 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
“Rows and Rows” flickr photo by Andre Mercier; https://flickr.com/photos/andremercier/3572564728 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license