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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
David Humphreys

More than £1m could be spent helping house ex-prisoners across Merseyside

More than £1m could be spent to help house ex-offenders across Liverpool City Region.

A bid had been made by the region’s combined authority for funding to support former prisoners secure accommodation across Merseyside at the end of their sentence. Subject to confirmation from the government, the authority is seeking to approve £1.04m being spent to supplement the accommodation for ex-offenders fund.

According to a report released ahead of the Combined Authority meeting at Mann Island next week, in 2021 funding was secured from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to help support people leaving custody into private rented sector accommodation. The Combined Authority commissioned homelessness charity Crisis to deliver support for ex-offenders leaving prison across Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, with a directly employed Housing Officer operating across Halton and Knowsley.

READ MORE: Liverpool prisoners shoot rap video in jail

Last November, a further bidding process was launched for funding to support private sector accommodation solutions for people leaving custody, now known as the Accommodation for Ex-Offenders Scheme. Should government deliver the funding, more than £600,000 would be spent across Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

A further £260,000 would be given to Halton and Knowsley Councils to set up the scheme. A similar amount is to be allocated to fund two homelessness prison leaver officers and a personalisation budget.

Contract monitoring costs of £20,500 would also be incurred. Should combined authority members agree to the proposals, the scheme would come into force from April 1 until March 2025.

A report to the combined authority said: “This funding will improve the wellbeing of individuals within their communities and the community as a whole. It will support and enable service users to develop sustainable approaches to managing their tenancies and improving their wellbeing.

“It has the potential to enable service users to access employment opportunities, improve their health, both physically and mentally, and enable them to feel part of a community.” The report acknowledged that the service is dependent on funding being secured.

In doing so, the report said it would “increase access to new private rented sector tenancies for ex-offenders who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless. The target cohort for this funding are offenders who are not owed a statutory homeless duty by a Housing Authority and are deemed to be able to manage a tenancy in the private sector.”

The bid will be considered by combined authority members on Friday January 20.

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