More than half of prison leavers are released without permanent accommodation. Homelessness and reoffending is a real risk. St Martins has a new role where prison inreach worker Drew helps people leaving prison to find accommodation.
Drew said, “I get the opportunity to work with all kinds of prison staff from the officers to probation. Communication with these professions are key in my role to help the clients the best we can find accommodation for their release. Working together helps the outcome become more successful. With it being a new role, it’s still in the process of being based in the prison one to two days a week to help have easier access to the prisoners in finding out information to complete relevant paperwork to find accommodation whether it be temporary or permanent.”
Drew has been building relationships with other accommodation providers and learning more about different tenancies available. Her knowledge will help clients understand more about what is available to them upon leaving prison and to help secure somewhere to live which will reduce the chances of them re-offending.
Drew said, “The prison staff have been very helpful in assisting me to learn more about the system and are doing their best to assist me when needed. I’m really looking forward to getting more stuck in with the role and building stronger connections with all the different agencies.”
One example of a successful outcome Drew has had was helping a client complete a Hostel Application Form. The client stated that the reason they tend to re-offend is due to lack of accommodation and support outside the prison. Drew was able to secure a pod in St Martins’ Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub for them where they received support and advice on how to cope with life outside of prison. Drew offered to continue supporting them and attend meetings with them if they felt the need to. From here, they have now got their own room at Bishopbridge House. This is fantastic progress for the client who is now on the road to rebuilding their life after prison.