Why a home is such a critical part of a recovery journey

By Victoria Tomlinson · 13 September 2023

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day rush of work and so this week I have taken some time to reflect on a research project we have completed recently for a Leicester based charity.

The services they provide, supporting women leaving prison or in the custody process, is so inspiring and is a stark reminder of why the provision of safe and affordable housing is so crucial for anyone on a recovery journey. What is clear, from the work we have been doing, is that the recovery journey is so much harder without a home and reoffending levels are higher for those sofa surfing or in temporary housing.

In an article published by the Guardian recently, prisons charity the Howard League says housing, jobs and support are essentialHomeless ex-prisoners are significantly more likely to reoffend than those living in housing, in what charities have described as a “merry-go-round” in which people are “swept into prison and then dumped back on to the streets”.

Data obtained from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) under a freedom of information request showed that out of all adult prisoners, 67% of those who slept rough or were otherwise homeless went on to commit another crime within a year. For those living in “unsettled” or temporary accommodation, the rate of reoffending was also higher, at 54%, compared with 43% for those who had either a permanent home or short-term supported housing.

Alongside the research I mentioned above ARK are also undertaking property acquisitions on behalf of four charity clients. All are charities who are working with Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) funds. The acquired homes will provide much needed accommodation for homeless people, women fleeing domestic violence, young people who need some extra support to live independently and people with complex support needs.

Acquisitions are becoming a quicker solution than the delivery of new homes which have slowed in recent months, for several reasons, such as nervousness in the housing market, pressures on providers to decarbonise their homes and lack of land. However, with recent announcements from Homes England around funding being potentially available for replacement homes, delivered through regeneration schemes, we can start to link the improvement of existing with the provision of new homes. Every home we build or acquire from the private sector provides a vital lifeline for someone in need; it enables them to live the life they deserve.

I am proud of the work we have delivered to support client acquire homes and understand how they can link their support services to housing provision, we hope to share more detail through a case study soon.

In the meantime, if you want to read more about the development services we offer, click here.

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