Welcome Home

Welcome Home is Brooklyn Public Library's FREE program for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, offering practical and emotional support from people who’ve been there and know firsthand what reentry is like.

Coming home from an incarceration can be overwhelming and there are many barriers to navigate. You don’t have to figure it all out alone. The Welcome Home staff can help you with:

  • one-on-one appointments to help you identify your needs and goals and map out your journey
  • guidance on housing, health, reconnecting with loved ones and more
  • monthly dinners where you can join a supportive community of peers and share resources
  • connections to free library services, local groups and the compassionate, dignified help you deserve

Call or text 929.561.9789 for more information and to schedule a one-on-one appointment. Our Reentry Navigators have regular hours at the following BPL branches:


MEET THE STAFF

Paul Rivera, Reentry Navigator

Born in New York City, Paul grew up in California, returning to the city in the 1980s. Paul has strong ties to the reentry community and has worked to build networks from the time he was incarcerated. Since coming home, he has dedicated himself to amplifying the voices of the formerly incarcerated. Welcome Home is not only “a main support program but a way to restore their humanity and bring them back into society,” says Paul. “It helps by making individuals understand that they are not alone in the process and to give them a one-on-one personal approach to help navigate the system that has separated them for so long.”

Donald Washington, Reentry Navigator

A native Brooklynite and a lifelong Library supporter, Donald has been involved in reentry support and journalism around the issues facing formerly incarcerated people since coming home. “What makes Welcome Home special,” Donald notes, “is our focus on supporting patrons to achieve their goals. This is our primary focus. Our hope is that patrons walk away feeling empowered and capable.”   


Library Resources for Reentry

BPL can help you with everything from using a computer to finding a job, filling out immigration papers, learning a language, getting books and information—and much more.

Immigrant Services

Citizenship preparation

  • Citizenship preparation classes (registration only) and group meetings (drop-in) 
  • Weekly English conversation groups

ActionNYC

Immigration legal consultations; Information and advice about forms of immigration relief available; Green Card renewals, DACA, TPS and more.

Passport Services

Apply for a U.S. passport and/or passport card; appointments required.

Education 

Computer Services and Classes

Use computers, internet and Wi-Fi; Print, copy, scan and fax from Central Library; Take computer classes and technology training; Free online newspapers, journals and databases.

Adult Learning Center

  • Improve reading, writing, math & technology skills
  • Earn High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE) (prepares you for the GED exam in English or Spanish)
  • Enroll in National External Diploma Program (NEDP)
  • Learn languages
  • Get a certification
  • Free laptops and wi-fi hotspots
  • Case management services
  • Test prep study guides, practice exams and more
  • Bard Microcollege at BPL
  • Free Associate of Arts degree in liberal studies 
  • Join community of ambitious students earning Bard College credits by participating in small, seminar-style classes with world-class faculty
  • High school diploma or HS equivalent is required
Arts & Culture 

Culture Pass gets you free passes to museums, music events, films and more. Reserve your passes online with your library card at culturepass.nyc

Work & Finances 

Business & Career Center 

  • One-on-one help with resumes, cover letters, job searching and taxes 
  • Programs on starting a business, saving money, preparing for interviews and getting certifications needed in your industry 
Health & Elders Services 

Community Health

Mental health and wellness resources, referrals and workshops 

Services for Older Adults

  • Events, workshops & classes for adults ages 55+
  • Free library services for homebound patrons and senior centers 
Support for Families 

TeleStory

  • Free video calls to loved ones who are incarcerated in NY prisons 
  • Support finding employment, housing, mental health care, education, childcare and more 

Youth & Family Services

  • Find books, eBooks, eAudio 
  • Fun, educational programs for caregivers and teens 
  • Storytimes, singalongs, author talks 
  • Homework help 
  • Art activities 

Inclusive Services 

Services and programs for children and teens with and without disabilities, their families, educators and other caring adults. 

Upcoming Events

Baltic Street Education and Employment Supportive Services

Wed, Apr 24 3:00pm
Marcy Library

health and wellness Justice Initiatives mental health

Baltic Street Wellness Solutions is a peer-led, holistic community mental health recovery organization offering a supportive environment where individuals can access education and employment resources, guided by peers who have walked similar paths. Discover how our community fosters resilience,…

Welcome Home Monthly Dinner

Thu, Apr 25 6:00pm
Macon, Large Auditorium

Justice Initiatives social services

Welcome Home is Brooklyn Public Library's program to support formerly incarcerated patrons. Our monthly dinners are open to all formerly incarcerated people. They provide a safe place to share a meal, resources, and a conversation facilitated by Brooklyn Public Library’s Reentry…

Prison Library Support Network Info Session

Sat, Apr 27 2:00pm
Macon, Dionne Mack-Harvin Heritage Center

AAHC Justice Initiatives social services

The Prison Library Support Network is hosting an in-person information session for anyone interested in volunteering to support the information needs of our incarcerated neighbors. This event will be an in-person version of PLSN’s new volunteer orientation which will include a history of PLSN,…

Community Based Organizations & Resources

Our colleagues at New York Public Library publish the annual Connections resource guide for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers in both English and Spanish.

Brooklyn Defender Services

Legal support; housing, education, employment and immigration support; “Reentry Speaks,” a group session for Brooklynites returning home after a period of incarceration

Children of Promise

Programs and mental health/therapeutic support for children with an incarcerated parent or loved one and their families; after-school program, summer day camp & youth development

College and Community Fellowship

Supports women with criminal justice involvement to obtain college degrees, leadership skills and career and financial counseling

CUNY College Initiative

Academic counseling & support for college enrollment help for formerly incarcerated & court-involved individuals.

Fortune Society

Comprehensive reentry services: Rap Sheet & Relief from Disability workshops; assistance with benefits enrollment; case management; housing; education; employment services; outpatient substance treatment & mental health services; family services; creative arts programs; HIV/AIDS services; & alternative-to-incarceration programs.

Housing Works Inc.

Case management & benefits enrollment; IDs & documents retrieval; Connection to medical, wellness treatment services; Substance use treatment; Vocational counseling, job training, & paid employment placement; Specialized services for LGBTQPIA+ clients or gender non-conforming clients.

Legal Action Center

Free legal services to New York residents facing discrimination based on their arrest or conviction records, drug use and/or substance abuse disorder, or HIV/AIDS status; Help with cleaning RAP sheets, applying for Certificate of Relief for Good Conduct & sealing records

Osborne Association

Programs & services for defendants, the formerly incarcerated, people on probation & parole, people in prison, & families of currently & formerly incarcerated people Refoundry Training for formerly incarcerated people to turn discarded materials into home furnishings; Mentorship on starting a business, career or apprenticeship; Mental health/addiction referrals; Classes about the internet, finance, business, resume building & interview skills

Remedy Project

Prison rights advocacy organization led by formerly incarcerated individuals in partnership with students & community activists; Assists people incarcerated in federal prison with administrative remedies; Volunteer & employment opportunities for former jailhouse lawyers & prison paralegals. 

Women's Prison Association 

Services for women & their families who have been impacted by the criminal legal system; Partners with women to help navigate their legal cases, find housing, build careers, access healthcare, advance personal goals, & avoid additional system involvement; Provides help with release planning for those currently incarcerated. 

Youth Justice Network

Programs for young people ages 16–24 including those who have been to jail, are on probation, or are otherwise court-involved; Provides youth advocacy & mentorship, court advocacy, leadership training, alternative education & HSE preparation, career services, and arts and recreation; Offers fatherhood and motherhood mentorship programs for parents of all ages.