The purpose of the Dismas project was to provide funding for new construction of 12 units of affordable permanent housing for male former offenders. Dismas Inc. acquired a .5-acre mixed-use parcel of land at 2424 Charlotte Avenue on October 6, 2016. The land was used to build a four-story 72-unit, 24,408 square foot, re-entry facility for male former offenders. The NHTF funding was used to build 12 of the 72 housing units for the population that Dismas serves. An additional 4 units of permanent housing are included on the 4th floor and will be funded by other funding sources indicated in the sources and uses. The remaining 56 units will serve as transitional affordable housing. The 16 permanent units will be for residents who are moving out of the transitional housing and need permanent housing and will be congregate living with shared kitchen and bath.
Benefits & Innovation
There is more than sufficient need for this project as demonstrated by the fact that Dismas receives over 350 applications for housing per year and that there are over 30,000 persons currently incarcerated in the state of TN and 98% of them will be released within one year. This indicates that over 29,400 ex-offenders will be released in the next year. With a recidivism rate of over 47% nearly half of these ex-offenders will be back in jail within three years. The recidivism rate for ex-offenders who graduate from the Dismas program is only 20%. The Dismas programming provides evidence based supportive services that are designed to provide all the services needed for full community reintegration with housing, case management, referral to mainstream resources, recovery support services, employment placement assistance, transportation assistance and follow-up. Without these types of housing and services the recidivism rate jumps from 20% to 47% thus providing evidence that Dismas housing and services meets the needs of the targeted population.