A new project to support prison leavers into housing will help to break the cycle of prison and homelessness in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has announced £273,000 to support men leaving prison in HMP Cardiff and women leaving prison in HMP Eastwood Park, Gloucestershire, including 10 Housing First places provided by Cardiff Council. The funding will also be used to develop a housing project to support prison leavers into stable accommodation in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Housing First is designed to support people who need significant levels of help to move away from homelessness. People receiving support are offered a place to live and then offered tailored, long term support to help enable them to manage a tenancy independently.
Julie James said:
I want to see an end to homelessness in Wales. First and foremost, we must prevent people becoming homeless in the first place. This means tackling the endless cycle of those people who leave prison and end up on our streets.
I visited Cardiff Prison earlier this year and talked to inmates who told me about being released onto the streets, having nowhere to go, reoffending and going straight back to prison.
This is no way to live and no way for our system to operate. Preventing homelessness through projects like Housing First can help individuals to get their lives back on track, and ensure we use public funding more effectively.
Ian Barrow, Director of National Probation Service in Wales said:
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service in Wales are responsible for ensuring that everyone sentenced to community and custodial orders in Wales are supported in accessing safe and secure accommodation on release. We know that settled accommodation on release from prison is a critical factor in reducing reoffending and protecting the public, as well as providing the best opportunity for our prison leavers to reintegrate and to make lasting positive change. The initiation of Her Majesty’s Prison Cardiff and Eastwood Park, Housing First project and the Rhondda Cynon Taf Housing Led pilot, represent the beginning of a long term collaborative commitment to providing a range of innovative and sustainable housing solutions that respond to the risk and need of individuals subject to community and custodial sentences in Wales.