(CBS DETROIT) – Reintegrating back into society can be hard after years in confinement.

Upon release, opportunities can be few and far in between without the proper support and guidance.

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“Give these individuals second chances. Give them a chance at employment. They are some of the most determined and hard-working individuals,” said Here To Help Foundation CEO Bob Schwatrz.

Operation Get Down is a temporary transition home on Detroit’s east side.

That’s where Schwartz is often seen making stops to meet with ex-offenders to find out what challenges they’re facing.

“From the beginning we help with gift cards to Walmart so that they can get the items that they need be it clothes or toiletries or even food because they literally have nothing but the shirt on their back,” said Schwatrz.

The Here To Help Foundation provides housing and employment services to returning citizens.

“Lastly at times we’re able to provide a used vehicle to get to employment. Umm and so it’s a program that’s designed to assist returning citizens with all the difficulties that they encounter,” said Schwatrz.

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Rodney Cantlow spent 20 years behind bars and was recently released in December 2020.

He says a lot has changed since he left home all those years ago.

“You know when I first got out I didn’t even know how to turn on a cell phone. You know and the guys you know, they immediately helped me you know what I’m saying and how to get on the internet,” said Cantlow.

Cantlow contributes his employment and transition success to the here to help foundation, for being a support system during a fragile time.

“I work again for the center for employment opportunity down on Woodward Avenue. You know what we do is we work for the city. We go into abandoned houses and we clean those houses up you know, and we get them ready for auction and we also do landscaping as well,” said Cantlow.

For more information on how to learn about the Returning Citizen Program visit heretohelp.org.

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