Founded in 1979, Providence House has helped previously incarcerated ladies transition to society through housing assistance for forty years. It operates a 15-man or woman transitional housing facility in Brooklyn, located in a former convent. It is companions with other community agencies throughout four other transitional housing places, including one in Jamaica.
Danielle Minelli Pagnotta, who labored for more than a decade at New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, took over because of the company’s government director in 2017. In addition to her function at Providence House, Pagnotta is likewise a member of the Women’s Community Justice Project and a Queens resident.
The Eagle spoke together with her approximately the campaign to close the Rose M. Singer Center — also called Rosie’s — at Rikers Island, wherein fewer than 500 girls are presently detained, the wishes of previously incarcerated women, and the way the ULURP technique for figuring out land use could affect girls currently housed at Rikers.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on Tuesday, June eleven, earlier at the ULURP Public Hearing.
Eagle: Tell me a bit about the task of housing women who’re coming off of Rikers and why it’s essential to have supportive housing centers for them.
Danielle Minelli Pagnotta: We’ve been working with girls popping out of prison for a long term and what we’ve located is that the ladies coming off of Rikers have many complex needs, particularly around mental fitness services and trauma. Women coming off of Rikers have been there for a shorter time and are still very related with their communities, so we paintings to sincerely join people right back to the one’s households. Our plan and we intend to interrupt the cycle of trauma that they experience once they’re on Rikers and from time to time in which they’re coming from.
Right now, we can take 15 girls in a transitional placing, and we accomplice with other ATI [Alternatives to Incarceration] applications doing this type of court docket-mandated collaboration. We’re simply offering the housing. We see this as a crucial want. We don’t suppose that a person needs to sit on Rikers because they’re homeless and don’t have someplace to move, so we can offer that housing as they paint to transition lower back into the community.
What are some of the roadblocks for final down the Rosie’s, and the way are you looking to recommend for Rosie’s being closed?
Historically, Providence House is a provider-based employer, and we have our fingers a touch bit in advocacy. However, I like to think that we’ve virtually stepped into it a touch bit extra in the beyond a couple of years. I suppose that you may provide direct service, and that’s vital, but you furthermore may want to recognize the systemic demanding situations that your populations are facing.
We have wholeheartedly joined on with Beyond Rosie’s marketing campaign and are advocating very directly with the city — the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice — for a standalone facility for girls that the town has now decided to enforce. I think that’s very much a part of Beyond Rosie’s marketing campaign’s urging: we would like to look for a more fabulous centralized girls’ facility and are still trying to push for that. There are a couple of ability buildings inside the town. You’ve probably heard about the Lincoln Facility that the nation is ready to release that we suppose could make for a fantastic setting for girls. But I assume in phrases of barriers at this point, it’s truely simply time and bringing up. Interestingly, that is a unique moment within the metropolis in which there’s a variety of strengths around criminal justice reform and getting people into community settings. And so I suppose a number of it is just going thru the ULURP system that’s happening right now and getting those buildings approved.
I wanted to talk to you about the ULURP system and the way it relates to Queens. The Borough President is going to be holding a forum on Thursday. What’s happening with that, and what’s the significance of this step of the ULURP method?
I turned into reality at the two network board meetings that addressed the same topic, and I’m planning to be there on Thursday. As a Queens resident, it’s vital to me to have the ability to say that I suppose community-based totally settings are so much extra essential. Providence House is honestly targeted on households and a lot of what occurs to human beings when they’re sent to Rikers is set their distance from their families. If [the jail is] in Kew Gardens, it could take an entire day to get through the clearance to peer your loved one and that point far from family, whether or not you’re a person or a girl, pretty frankly is absolutely adverse to someone’s life. They may want to lose jobs, they could lose connections to their children. So I’m going to be going to the ones meetings to similarly endorse for the fact that community-primarily based jails are critical to maintain people toward their houses, in particular whilst they may now not actually have been convicted and that can help preserve them tied to their groups extra.