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Cameo House

Transitional housing for formerly incarcerated mothers with children.

A resident of Cameo House with her baby

Photo by Willy Johnson | breakbeatbilly.com

Upon release, formerly incarcerated mothers face many challenges to successful reentry, including homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment, and mental health problems. In addition to housing, the program provides supportive services to address these issues and help with family reunification.

CJCJ’s staff help residents obtain stable housing and gainful employment within six months of their placement, although residents may remain for up to two years. The transitional housing unit includes access to communal living areas, fully equipped kitchens, bathroom facilities, and an enclosed yard area. CJCJ staffs the residence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Eligibility and referrals

To be eligible for placement at Cameo House a female individual must be homeless and can reside in the facility with up to 2 children. Referrals are accepted from the San Francisco Probation Department or other outside referrals. The intake process includes an assessment for suitability.

For information please contact Danielle Evans at devans@cjcj.org or call (415) 621-5661 ext. 104.  For intake and referrals call (415) 703-0600.

How it works

Cameo House is a supportive transitional housing program for 11 single homeless mothers recently released from state prison or county jail. In Cameo House, each woman has her own living space to allow her to reunify with up to 2 children. Clients participate in individual and group therapy, counseling, and employment preparation. Clients and their children remain in the program until they are ready to complete their transition to independent living, for six months or up to two years.

The Cameo House case management team offers: 

  • Child reunification services
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Substance abuse education
  • Relapse prevention
  • Referrals to NA and AA
  • Transition plan to independent living
  • Independent living skills
  • Anger management
  • Health workshops and nutrition education
  • Skills for employment stability
  • Money management
  • Counseling for families and children
  • Parenting workshops
  • Relationship and self-esteem workshops
  • Recreational activities

The program is located in a San Francisco three-story Victorian building with 11 units, a day use room on each floor, and a backyard. During residency, engagement in AA/NA is encouraged.  Individual and group counseling are provided and urine analysis is conducted twice a month and randomly as needed.

Interested in being a clinical intern? Read our description of the clinical internship program and submit applications to Director of Women's Services Danielle Evans at devans@cjcj.org.  

History

Formerly a Northern California Service League (NCSL) program, Cameo House opened its doors in September 1997 to address homelessness and barriers to successful reentry among formerly incarcerated mothers with young children. Incarcerated females, both at the state and local level, are characteristically minority women of low economic status who are unemployed, unmarried, and mothers of young children.

Research indicates women offenders have higher rates of reported sexual and physical abuse than their male counter parts, often inflicted by a loved one. This history of abuse can contribute to an individual’s need for mental health services and substance and alcohol abuse services. Additionally, female offenders who are mothers tend to have been single parents prior to their incarceration. Family reunification, parenting, and nutrition skills are services that can provide additional support to this population upon reentry.

Female offenders commonly commit forgery, fraud, nonviolent property offenses, and drug offenses. Strategies towards addressing their criminal behaviors must be reflective of their reasons for committing crimes, often differing from the reasons their male counterparts commit crimes. The female offender population is generally nonviolent with limited criminal histories, but have high needs due to their complex histories.

Stable housing is an essential component of successful reentry, and studies estimate San Francisco parolees and probationers have a high need for housing services. These formerly incarcerated people also benefit from cultivating connections with a wide array of community-based services that can address their individualized needs. A successful reentry and aftercare plan for formerly incarcerated women includes links to local services that will generate a sustainable support system.  

Danielle Evans, Director of Women's Services
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
40 Boardman Place
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 621-5661 ext. 104
Fax: (415) 621-5466
devans@cjcj.org 

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