Lord Sheikh’s Written Parliamentary Question on Homelessness Among Women Following Release From Prison

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure women released from prison are (1) supported by the Ministry of Justice’s temporary accommodation service, and (2) are supported into permanent accommodation. (HL1087)

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure women released from prison will not be released to homelessness. (HL1086)

Answer:

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar: Official statistics published in July 2020 show that over 6,000 women were released from custody in the year to March 2020, with 51% going into secure, long-term accommodation and a further 7% to approved premises; 18% were recorded as rough sleeping or homeless at the point of release.

We are investing more than £20m in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary accommodation. Individuals released from prison will be provided up to 12 weeks of temporary accommodation and will be supported into long-term settled accommodation before the end of that 12-week period. Initially launching in five national probation regions, the service will support around 3,000 offenders in its first year and will be commencing this Summer. It will be in operation during the next financial year 2021-22, with a view to scaling up and rolling out nationally.

The service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs and accommodation provision will be dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, will be responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks’ emergency accommodation.

HMPPS will work in conjunction with MHCLG’s announced funding to support both male and female prison leavers at risk of homelessness into private rental tenancies. Funded schemes to support women will be developed to recognise their specific needs and will be part of plans to secure settled accommodation by the end of the 12 weeks’ temporary accommodation provided by HMPPS.

In 2020, Hestia Battersea was changed from male to female Approved Premises (AP) to give better geographic spread of AP for women, becoming the first AP for women in London since 2008. In addition, Eden House, the first new AP in over thirty years, will open in June supporting female offenders.