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New Syracuse Housing Project Completed For Area's Re-Entry Population

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Raquel Stephen
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There’s a new housing option in Syracuse for people just released from prison.  The project is designed as part of a reentry program for residents, like Michael Hunter, who must readjust to life after incarceration. 

"I came in here, and everything just falling into place so beautifully," said Hunter. "I've never seen success at this phenominal level. I just love it. I love the help."

Freedom Commons is a $14 million dollar joint project between the Center for Community Alternatives and the Syracuse Housing Authority. It has 43 affordable apartments, 11 permanent supportive apartments, and flats and townhouses for those just released.   According to the Deputy Director of CCA, Kelly Gonzalez, the mission of the project is to provide a stable environment for residents to start over again.

"But the idea is for them to be able to take a beat and not feel rushed out and really create that foundation they're going to need," said Gonzalez. "So that they don't cycle back and forth between homeless shelters, living on the street, and recidivism and going back into incarceration."

Freedom Commons is modeled after the Fortune Society’s development in New York City.  Syracuse Housing Authority Executive Director, Bill Simmons, notes that applicants must go through a referral process to become residents.  They also must agree to participate in the support programming.   There is currently a wait list for those seeking immediate housing.