KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Correction has received a $200,000 grant to assist offenders finishing their sentences to find stable housing upon release.

The new grant will temporary, transitional housing to poor offenders who have finished their sentence as a part of TDOC’s partnership with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA). Previously, the assistance was only available to offenders on probation or parole. The expanded program will now help those who are not released to supervision.

“Access to affordable housing is crucial for anyone leaving prison and helps to reduce the likelihood of re-offending,” said Commissioner Lisa Helton. “This new effort will allow them time to focus on securing employment and saving for permanent housing when they first leave incarceration.”

According to TDOC, reentry staff works with inmates before their release to create a suitable home plan. If no home plan is found, reentry staff will connect offenders with approved transitional housing. This new grant will pay for up to 60 days of housing for those who meet certain criteria.

TDOC works with over 50 groups in East Tennessee alone to help provide transitional housing.