The strong links between homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system are well documented. Twenty-five per cent of people entering prison experience homelessness in the four weeks before entering prison and more than half of those who are incarcerated, leave prison in Victoria are homeless upon release. The statistics are far from surprising to Kane Apelu, Manager of Housing Programs at Jesuit Social Services.
“I’d say 100 per cent of our program participants have either experienced homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and it contributes to leading them into offending behaviours. Prison environments are not conducive to rehabilitation, so we focus on providing safe and secure housing for participants so they can use it as a platform to address the other aspects of their lives,” he says.