Around one third of people exiting prison do so into homelessness. The need for stable housing is critical in helping people to turn their lives around, become productive members of society and ultimately reach their potential.
Jesuit Social Services runs a range of housing programs providing support to people who’ve been involved with the justice system and are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Kane Apelu, Manager of Housing Programs, says stable housing is one of the most important factors in helping people stay out of prison and get their life back on track.
“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.”
Our Dillon House and Next Steps programs prevent homelessness for marginalised young people involved with the justice system. Dillon House, the residential part of the program, is a safe, affordable and welcoming home environment providing up to a year of 24-hour supported accommodation. The program focuses on developing residents’ independent living skills and addressing offending behaviours to reduce their risk of reoffending. Next Steps, the outreach component of the program, provides up to two years’ intensive outreach support to young people in the community.
Giovanna Nicolia, Coordinator of the Next Steps team, says the support Dillon House and Next Steps provide is a rare opportunity for young people in the justice system. “It’s unique in being able to support young people who transition out of detention because the options for housing are very, very limited,” she says.
We also run Perry House, which provides up to two years of 24-hour supported accommodation for four young men who have complex mental health and neurological needs, have been involved with the justice system and are at risk of homelessness.
We provide critical after-hours support for up to 15 young people to enter the private rental market under a subsidised leasing scheme for up to two years, through our Link Youth Justice Housing Program. The program compliments a young person’s existing support and focuses on developing their independent living skills, maintaining and sustaining a private rental, reducing risk of reoffending, and transitioning into long-term housing.
Through our Maribyrnong Community Residential Facility, in Melbourne’s west, we also provide temporary accommodation and wraparound support to men leaving prison who would otherwise be homeless. Staff at the facility support residents with activities such as applying for NDIS packages, getting a driver’s licence and construction tickets, connecting with private rental housing and work opportunities, understanding the conditions of intervention orders, and starting visits with family members.
Our housing support programs give people leaving prison the best chance to find stable housing and get their lives back on track.