Over Christmas, the HOMELINK team has been able to assist an individual leaving HMP Ford all thanks to our small grants scheme and partnership with HMP Ford that is helping vulnerable ex-offenders to access short-term Bed and Breakfast accommodation and re-build their lives.

The future looked uncertain for HOMELINK client *Simon who was due to be released from HMP Ford. Despite having secured a job whilst still in prison, like many, he had nowhere to stay upon release as he lacked savings and a network to support his transition back into life ‘outside’. His additional difficulty was a Christmas Eve release date – a particularly tough time to find accommodation. Given these issues, Simon’s new job was in the balance.

Simon’s Probation Officer however put him in touch with HOMELINK, which meant he was able to apply for a small emergency grant to cover the cost of a B&B stay from Christmas Eve until the New Year. Simon then moved into temporary accommodation offered by his new employer until the end of February. In the meantime, Simon has secured a non-repayable housing grant from his local council to cover rent in advance and deposit costs that will greatly assist him with accessing a permanent home.

As for his new £20k pa job for a local firm, Simon is enjoying it and going from strength-to-strength – he is even awaiting further training for the development of his role. Things are on the up for Simon.

Nationally about one third of offenders lose their accommodation whilst in prison. Homeless ex-offenders are also twice as likely to be re-convicted as those with stable accommodation. HOMELINK’s small grants scheme is one of the few schemes in the country that offers ex-offenders short-term B&B accommodation upon release and the support needed to bridge the gap between leaving prison and securing a permanent home.

HMP Ford

“The distress and hopelessness felt by prisoners when, in their final weeks before release no statutory agencies will commit to house them, is enormous. The uncertainty felt undermines rehabilitation and feeds a negative belief that nobody really cares,” said Reverend Andy Kerr, Managing Chaplain at HMP Ford.

“The outstanding support HOMELINK gives stands in this chasm, offering some immediate certainty, hope and care for desperate people needing a second chance. I have found their charity to be professional, communicative and diligent. And for the people we work with, quite literally a lifeline which I am certain has saved lives!”

HOMELINK’s Client Manager, Gary Brettle, and the small grants scheme administrator Joanna Slaughter were delighted to hear about Simon’s progress since receiving his grant. Gary said:

“This story provides a warm feeling of hope for others in what can be achieved from the strong relationship HOMELINK has with HMP Ford to prevent prisoner homelessness on release from the facility. Then, where a motivated ex-offender needing a second chance applies themselves, a supportive employer steps up to assist, and local statutory services step in with tangible support too it’s just win, win, win!”

*Client’s name has been changed to maintain anonymity.