Building a more positive future: how Shelter works with former offenders
When Shelter was approached to deliver housing and debt advice for offenders and those leaving custody, we were especially keen to help.
Offenders are often at risk of losing their tenancies when they enter custody, making it extremely difficult for them to resettle back into the community and build new lives for themselves upon their release.
That’s why Shelter is working in prisons and in community locations across the North East and North West, delivering support on housing and debt to prisoners and former offenders.
We work on behalf of probation providers in Merseyside, Cheshire & Greater Manchester, Cumbria & Lancashire, Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire and Northumbria as part of the Ministry of Justice’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme. Crucially, we help clients to find a home or to keep the place they already have, working with them to sort any finance and debt issues, and helping them to find accommodation and access benefits.
Donna, who works on our Community Integration team, shares a recent success story.
‘We had one client who was coming out of prison and keen to settle near his support network in Blackpool,’ she says. ‘But because he had no direct connection with the area, the council refused to rehouse him.
‘This meant two major challenges: raising a deposit and finding a private landlord willing to rent to a former offender.’
‘As a first step, we suggested our client apply to a charitable fund,’ Donna explains. ‘When he found a suitable flat, we talked to the landlord, explained the grant application – which was later successful – and generally provided reassurance. As a result, the client is now happily settled.
‘It was especially encouraging when the landlord later came back to say he has other flats available and that he would be willing to work with Shelter again.
‘It’s hopeful news in a time where vital second chances are so hard to come by – and something Shelter supporters should feel really proud of.’
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