18th July 2019 News

Commissioner funding helps rental deposit scheme reduce reoffending

Helping make access to housing more accessible

Led by Blackburn with Darwen Council but operating across East Lancashire, the scheme, which received £20,000 from the Commissioner’s Fund, recognises how important a place to live is for people who are trying to turn their lives around, with relatively small amounts of money helping make access to housing more accessible. 

Those who receive assistance through the scheme are then asked to engage with support services to help them avoid a return to criminality. Through relatively small amounts of money, ex-offenders are assisted in avoiding a return to criminality and engage in the community, saving money overall through emergency service response and additional prison time.

Commissioner Clive Grunshaw met with Councillor Mustafa Desai, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Prevention, and Sayyed Osman, the Council’s Director for Adult Social Care and Prevention at Blackburn Town Hall, as well as representatives from the National Probation Service and Together Housing, who are all involved in the project, to hear examples of how the scheme has helped people.

He said:

“It has been a great opportunity to hear how my Reducing Reoffending Fund has made a real difference in people’s lives and a positive impact across the county, including here in East Lancashire.

“By thinking differently and investing relatively small amounts of money we are able to make a real impact by avoiding offenders returning through the criminal justice system, and make our communities safer places to live and work.

“Policing alone cannot prevent people reoffending and that is why I continue to support initiatives that break the cycle offenders all too often find themselves trapped in, moving them away from a life of crime.”

Councillor Desai said: “This funding has made a positive difference. People who have paid their debt to society do need support when they come out of prison to reintegrate back into the community and complete their rehabilitation.

“A small amount of funding to get people decent accommodation but with an expectation they will engage with services has been proven to have wider benefits for society. We have seen it has been instrumental in preventing several ex offenders from offending again.”

Jeanette Flynn from the National Probation Service said:

“This fund has been critical in terms of the resettlement of ex-offenders who would otherwise have left custody of No Fixed Abode and at high risk of re-offending due to their complex needs. This fund has helped Probation Officers to support people into the right accommodation at the right time.”

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