Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern (center) visits CRJ staff and clients at the Community Strategies group home in Leominster in August, 2018.

Two prominent Massachusetts politicians paid visits in recent weeks to Community Resources for Justice programs where they saw firsthand the value of reentry support and services for adults with developmental disabilities.

Congressman Jim McGovern and Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo made separate visits to CRJ programs to meet their constituents and learn about the programs CRJ offers.

McGovern visited CRJ’s group home for adults with developmental disabilities in Leominster in late August. He got a tour of the house and shared cookies that the residents and staff had baked for the visit. Sitting at the dining room table, McGovern heard from the residents and program staff about living and working in a community-based residential setting.

Just about a week later, DeLeo stopped by Brooke House, CRJ’s residential reentry program in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood for men transitioning from incarceration back to communities in and around the city. The visit was a chance for DeLeo to see a reentry program and talk to clients after he was a leader in the effort to secure $5 million in the fiscal year 2019 state budget to establish a grant program for similar programs throughout the commonwealth.

A resident told the Speaker that without Brooke House he wouldn’t have a safe place to live and that he was happy to be able to stay at the program instead of his old neighborhood where he feared he would fall back into bad habits that got him in trouble before. The resident talked about how meaningful it was to him simply knowing where he was going to sleep at night and being able to shower and brush his teeth.

Residents told DeLeo that they appreciate the staff and support they’ve received obtaining valid state ID, finding jobs, and connecting with community organizations that offer additional services to previously incarcerated individuals.

DeLeo emphasized that his goal in supporting additional reentry funding is to reduce recidivism, and he heard from staff and residents how housing, case management, and support that Brooke House provides can help achieve that goal.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (right) visits Brooke House in September, 2018.