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The Role of Probation and Parole in Making Housing a Priority for People with Behavioral Health Needs

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2021

This report provides guidance to community corrections agencies in increasing access to housing for parolees and probationers with behavioral health needs.


This report features a two-pronged approach to improving access to housing for probationers and parolees with behavioral health needs. The approach addresses assessment of the risk for homelessness and connecting with homelessness service providers and landlords. One prong of the proposed approach involves assessing the risk of homelessness. An assessment of the need for permanent housing should be a standard practice in parole and probation case management. The assessment procedure should include a definition of homelessness and address previous experiences of homelessness, the ability to pay for housing, previous incidents or convictions that might restrict access to public or subsidized housing, housing that may have been interrupted due to incarceration, recognition of any intellectual and developmental disabilities, and client’s choices for housing conditions. Parole and probation agencies should also develop contacts with homelessness service providers and landlords to ensure that their clients with behavioral health needs will have access to housing. Once clients are in permanent housing, parole and probation officers should continue to collaborate with housing providers and the case management team to ensure that revocations or rearrests are prevented.