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5 Things We Learned at the Offender Homelessness Learning Workshop

Posted on 05/12/19

NHAS, in partnership with HMPPS, ran a learning workshop for offender management practitioners at the Ministry of Justice in London on the 27th November. Below are some of the key points made by speakers throughout the day.

The Importance of Accommodation

Jennet Peters, Senior Contract Manager at HMPPS, informed delegates that research had shown that 1 out of 7 people who left prison were homeless, and that there is a strong link between homelessness and reoffending. Jennet highlighted that the first 6 months out of prison are crucial. Suggested approaches to reduce reoffending were: long-term housing (rather than temporary or crisis solutions), services that address the causes of homelessness (such as poor mental health, substance misuse and lack of employment) and intensive case management that helps offenders secure and keep accommodation.

Duty to Refer and Local Connection

Duncan Bannister, NHAS Trainer, ran a Duty to Refer seminar for delegates. Duncan highlighted that a period spent in prison does not give an offender a local connection with the area under the normal residency rules (i.e. having spent 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years in the area).

Access Restrictions & Offenders

Nicola Forsdyke, Senior Homelessness Advisor at MHCLG, spoke about how service capacity / access restrictions to offenders impacts the local authority’s ability to have clear plans on release. Joint working between MHCLG and MOJ is currently taking place to address this issue, with area-based approaches in development in some areas.

Personal Housing Plans

Duncan was back again to present a personal housing plan workshop to attendees asking the question “What makes a good personalised housing plan?”. The help available depended on the individual’s situation and location, but anyone who has had a PHP created is entitled to a copy. They should be encouraged to share it with their practitioner so they can work through the actions set together.

Personal Housing Plans & Young People

Duncan emphasised that, for those with an offending history, housing authorities and children’s services should work together to ensure that young people aged 16-17 and care leavers aged 18-24 do not leave custody without an accommodation plan in place.

NHAS and HMPPS would like to thank the speakers and delegates who attended the event. Keep an eye out for our upcoming events in 2020. If you’d like to access free training courses on topics such as Prisoners Housing Rights, Vulnerability, Public Authorities Duty to Refer and more then head to our training pages.

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