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Syracuse Housing Program that Helps People Transition to Life After Prison is Aided by People who have Taken the Same Journey

Life After Prison Freedom Commons Loh.jpg
Adriana Loh/WAER News
Freedom Commons has 43 units of housing for families with low incomes and for those with justice-involved individuals, including those just out of prison trying to reintegrate into society.

Some Syracuse residents are finding justice after they come out of prison through a unique housing program. After serving their sentences, individuals are allowed to reintegrate back into society with assistance at Freedom Commons.

Many of the workers that work for the facility also experienced life behind bars. Resident Advisor Abdhul Naseer committed a homicide earlier in his life. He uses his personal experiences to connect with his residents.

“Having the support and assistance Freedom Commons offers would have helped me a great deal,” Naseer said. “Being put in a position where I can help others has made a difference in my life as well as for others.”

Freedom Commons, located at 450 Burt St. in Syracuse, has comprehensive re-entry services that help the residents transition to new lives.

Services include education, employment assistance, case management, affordable housing, and recovery from substance abuse when needed. The Center for Community Alternatives runs the facility and is trying to keep residents from falling back into their same habits, which will n turn help lower crime rates within the community.

Individuals leaving prison or other places of incarceration will be able to enter the facility for a chance of transformation and opportunity.

“A program like this it gives you a springboard and gives you an opportunity to come home and not really have to worry,” said Christopher White.

White was a resident and is now a supervisor. He served prison time back in 2002 for burglary.

“It was me and two of my friends, we were about 17 at the time and there were some guns involved and people got hurt, and you know we all went to prison. … I had to step back and realize if I continue to do the things and live the life that I was living that was going to be my reality and I didn’t want that for myself,” said White.

He adds working for Freedom Commons allows him to help others get their lies back on track.

For more information on the housing model, go to:

Adriana Loh is a graduate student in broadcast journalism at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications and shares reporting time at WAER Public Media.
Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.