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1 Corrections Victoria Housing Innovations Felicity Munt Manager Housing.

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1 1 Corrections Victoria Housing Innovations Felicity Munt Manager Housing

2 2 Introduction Stable accommodation plays a critical role in reducing the likelihood of re-offending. The number of times an offender moved was one of the highest predictive factors of their likelihood to re-offend. With the numbers of people in the criminal justice system increasing over the last two decades, this is also a growing group of people at risk of homelessness. Exiting prisoners are often vulnerable, unable to maintain accommodation and may become repeat users of specialist homelessness services – often presenting in crisis. A growing number of people remaining in prison due to lack of housing.

3 3 Corrections Victoria Housing Project The Corrections Victoria Housing Project was initiated in response to:  An increasing prisoner population  Lack of affordable housing throughout Victoria  The link between homelessness and recidivism  The complex and unique housing and support requirements of exiting offenders.

4 4 Project Rationale The Corrections Victoria Housing Project (CVHP) aims: To reduce the risk of re-offending. Reduce costs associated with crime. Address disadvantage by targeting exiting offenders identified as at risk of homelessness. Reduce prison numbers.

5 5 Prevalence A recent audit of the VISAT indicated that over 11% of offenders that had completed this assessment were homeless prior to incarceration. The overall indication of homelessness or unstable housing amongst prisoners with VISAT records is 34.1% (712 prisoners) as at 30 March 2010, compared with 30.7% (560 prisoners) as at May Of the 712 prisoners identified as homeless or in unstable housing prior to entering prison as at 30 March 2010, 317 were identified as high risk of re-offending. Of the 114 women with VISAT records, 50 (43.9%) women were identified as homeless or in unstable accommodation prior to entering prison.

6 6 Prisoner Consultations Didn’t identify as homeless and/ or unstable housing, even though most would be assessed as homeless :  “I hook up to get a place sometimes”  “I had my clothes at mums and that was my base, then I just stayed at friends”  “Most of us stay in boarding houses or with mates”  “I can’t get private rental, so I usually end up in a shared house”

7 7 The Housing Environment The lowest rental vacancy rates in Victoria in over a decade Scarcity of public housing forces people into the private market and the numbers of homeless and/or unsuitably housed continues to climb. Public housing sector that has been further stretched and facing an increasing demand from the broader Victorian community, especially since the global financial crisis and 2009 Victorian bushfires. More people living in single households Significant reform in the housing sector. Federal Governments Economic Stimulus Package Nation Building initiative. The Federal Government’s White Paper on Homelessness: The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness. A commitment from the State Government to reduce exits into Homelessness from prisons by 25%. Open Doors Framework – a place based integration of housing services. A renewed partnership between CV and OOH and a commitment to address any and all exclusion practices.

8 8 Original Project Targets The Project will target exiting offenders that are: assessed as being able to successfully participate in a transitional supported housing program at high risk of homelessness and /or a history of homelessness primarily single men any age group, with a majority of residents expected to be in the years age group at risk of re-offending.

9 9 New Targeted Reponses Exiting male prisoners with a cognitive disability Exiting female prisoners with complex issues Exiting male and female prisoners with dependent children: The project is currently also working on specialist responses for Indigenous, youth (18 – 26) and aged (55+) prisoners.

10 10 Targets and Actual Year – – Target Predicted The Project’s target is to secure 78 places by June 2012.

11 11 A partnership Approach Department of Justice- Corrections Victoria Department of Human Services -Office of Housing. Registered Housing Agency Provision of capital funds for the purchase of properties, under the auspices of The Director of Housing. Distribution of capital funds under the auspices of The Director of Housing. Contract management of recurrent funding and project outputs.

12 12 RHA Model A housing association is a not-for-profit organisation that develops, owns and manages rental housing for people on low incomes. Housing associations:  Are registered and regulated through the Victorian Government’s Housing Registrar. Housing Registrar  Undergo a rigorous assessment process  Must be in a position to expand the supply of affordable rental housing.  Can borrow against the properties they own.  They are well-placed to attract support from other partners.  For every dollar spent by the government, they attract an extra 25 to 30 per cent from private, philanthropic and local government sources.

13 13 CV Supported Housing Program Initiative is not a ‘housing-only’ response  Housing first model  Housing is linked to current pre and post-release services which may include:  education, training and employment assistance  family counselling  drug and alcohol services  basic living skills training.  An average of 12 months service delivery, including assessment and case planning pre-release and a ‘step down’ program towards the end of the 12 month period.

14 14 The Model A partnership between CV, DHS and suitable RHAs. Transitional accommodation – average of nine months, transitioning into long term accommodation options. Investment in RHAs in return for accommodation places ‘capacity’ within a large pool of properties, to allow flexibility for client needs and neighbourhood fatigue. Supported Housing Model – eligible clients must engage with case management/ support. Central Coordination Point within CV, including common intake and referral. Increased capacity of new HIR workers, and front end workers via OoH.

15 15 New Initiatives Supported Transitional Accommodation Project Elizabeth Street Common Ground New Women's Housing Response

16 16 Questions Felicity Munt


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