Broadland helping to prevent homelessness among prison leavers

Broadland Housing is supporting a project to provide ex-offenders with a stable home, and reduce the likelihood that they will return to crime.

The Housing for People Leaving Prison project was set up by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) and St Martin’s. The project helps people released from prison to find accommodation, bring stability to their lives and reintegrate into communities. The National Probation Service (Norfolk and Suffolk) has now provided match-funding to extend the project beyond its initial 12-month term.

Broadland, along with Norwich City Council and the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Rehabilitation Company, will provide stable accommodation for prison leavers, as well as support to tackle the issues which make them vulnerable to reoffending.

A safe and stable home

Having safe, consistent accommodation can reduce the likelihood someone will reoffend by 20%, but prison leavers are at high risk of homelessness. With prison leavers making up 34% of demand for accommodation across the city of Norwich, the project will focus on that area and run until September 2022.

Reoffending can also be driven by drug or alcohol dependency, financial worries and lack of opportunity to earn money, complex mental or physical health needs, and being unable to access help and support to address these issues. A new Person-Centred Support Officer at St Martin’s will work directly with prison leavers to help them access mental, physical and emotional care, and support their reintegration back into society by encouraging positive activities and links with communities.

Michael Newey, Chief Executive of Broadland Housing Group, said:

I am really pleased that Broadland can play our part in this project. Broadland was established in 1963 to respond to homelessness, so this partnership work really does show our founding purpose in a very practical way.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green said: 

Release from prison can be an overwhelming and challenging experience. Having access to help and support is vital in making a successful transition from a life behind bars to a crime-free one back in Norfolk’s communities.

I am delighted that this project has received the support of so many partner agencies – all committed to working together to stop the revolving door of offending and, ultimately, make our communities safer.

Person-centred support

Will Mills, Head of Resettlement Services at St Martin’s said: 

St Martins are especially excited to be hosting this new Person-Centred Support Officer role. For us, it represents a chance to offer something different: longer term, more involved and better tailored support for the most vulnerable people in Norwich.

Councillor Gail Harris, Deputy Leader of Norwich City Council and Cabinet Member for Social Housing, said: 

The needs of each individual are central to this project, and the expertise of each partner will ensure appropriate wrap-around support, so that those leaving prison have the best chance of moving on positively with their lives.

Steve Johnson-Proctor, Regional Probation Director for the National Probation Service in the East of England, said: 

We know the importance of giving people the opportunity to ‘grow roots’ by having stable and suitable accommodation – and that this is one of the key factors for reducing people’s likelihood of reoffending. If people are to be given the opportunity to change for good, they need a stable base to enable them to concentrate on their rehabilitation.

Find out more about Broadland’s work to end homelessness.