The Government has today outlined plans to stop the revolving door that brings ex-offenders back into prison, and instead help them into stable new homes and new lives.
A third of people sleeping rough in London last year had spent some time in prison - with some even claiming to have re-offended in order to get back into prison and get a roof over their heads.
So Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt today confirmed that they will work with voluntary organisations including Crisis to offer a new scheme, in which ex-offenders and single homeless people will be given help to find and maintain a new home in the private rented sector.
Mr Blunt also said his officials will work with councils to improve access to housing advice in prisons. With a fifth of prisoners reporting on release that they have nowhere to stay, offering this kind of service could be key to stopping the revolving door which brings ex-offenders back into prison because they have nowhere else to go.
Plans could also include helping prisoners to set aside a proportion of their earnings to use for a deposit on a property when they are released.
Two thirds of ex-prisoners re-offend within two years of release. Getting ex-prisoners into stable homes could reduce re-offending rates by as much as a fifth.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
People can become homeless for a whole host of complex reasons - whether alcohol, drugs, losing a job or the breakdown of a relationship. But when a third of all rough sleepers have spent time in prison, this is one particular reason that needs our urgent attention.
No-one should be left in the position where they re-offend just to get a roof over their heads. That’s why our new scheme to help homeless people into stable, private rented accommodation will also be on hand to help ex-prisoners.
Our new ministerial working group on homelessness, bringing eight ministers together from across Whitehall, means we as a Government are tackling the issues that affect homeless people in a coordinated way, and means we are able to come up with imaginative and innovative solutions.
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