We work with several prisons around the midlands, as well as the Offender Hub in Birmingham, managed by Spring Housing.
When someone is released from prison they need stability and security to get their lives back on track. Quite often they are released with nowhere to go.
People leaving prison are at high risk of homelessness for a number of reasons, they may have been homeless before entering prison, are dependent on drugs or alcohol or simply are unable to get support finding the right sort of accommodation on release.
People often lose accommodation when they enter custody. On release they can struggle to find accommodation with a private landlord or get the housing element of Universal Credit quickly enough. Sometimes they can wait up to nine weeks for payment.
If someone leaving prison does go to their local council, they are likely to be turned away as they are not classed as ‘priority need’. Local authorities therefore say that they have no obligation to help them.
As a result people often quickly become ‘hidden homeless’ (living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, sofa surfing or squatting) or sleep rough to avoid going back to an unstable family home.
People often leave prison with underlying support needs. The period of transition from custody to community can often be extremely challenging, particularly for individuals lacking the right support to find a job or somewhere to live. So ex-offenders can find themselves homeless or back in prison.
We have developed services to integrate ex-offenders back into society by accessing education, training and work opportunities. Our specialist teams work with each individual to identify how they can fit back into their communities, including how they can give back positively.
The group-based community activities they are encouraged to undertake not only help each person re-integrate back into their community, but also give them the resilience of being supported by a group, making it more likely they will make a positive fresh start.
OUR SERVICES INCLUDE
By working with prisoners in the run up to discharge, then prison-leavers post-discharge we help them access the right range of support to successfully move beyond offending behaviour patterns. Homelessness features in many people’s reoffending pathways. Ex-prisoners are more likely to struggle with finding accommodation.