Funded by The Monument Trust, it promotes the need for more national and local coordination and offers practical steps for achieving this.
Recommendations from the report include:
• Ensuring staff have the right knowledge to do the job: nearly half of respondents from the criminal justice sector said they would benefit from training on housing needs, while more than a third of homelessness providers wanted training to help them understand and address offending.
• Criminal justice and homelessness agencies involving each other as key partners: homelessness service providers said 44% of their clients were known to have offended in the past year, while 9% have been to prison more than once.
• More action to challenge the restriction on accommodation for ex-offenders: clients with offending histories continue to face exclusions from accommodation in many areas, including from housing associations, private landlords and supported accommodation providers.
The report comes in the wake of Homeless Link research*, which has found that:
• 62% of adults using homelessness, drug and other services had spent time in prison, social services care or other institutions;
• 79% of ex-offenders who are homeless are reconvicted within one year;
• 37% of prisoners need assistance to find somewhere to live after release;
• 20% of clients in homelessness services are in contact with probation ;
• Over 75% of homelessness services in England support clients who are prison leavers.
Commenting on the report Alice Evans, Head of Policy Analysis at Homeless Link, said:
“While our research has uncovered localised pockets of good practice, the majority of experiences show there is a need for agencies to work together more closely to prevent people who have previously offended and are now homeless falling deeper into the cycle of homelessness and reoffending.
“We are calling for the homelessness and criminal justice sectors to provide services that complement each other, both on a national and local level. With greater financial pressures and a shift towards localism, joint approaches will prove crucial in meeting our shared aims of reducing reoffending and homelessness.”
Mark Woodruff, an Executive for the Monument Trust, says:
“Homeless Link has produced a superb analysis to show how prison and probation, homelessness charities and public services in the community can move from working in separate corners of the problems people present to combined efforts to motivate and maintain desistance from offending.”
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