‘Without your help, I’d be back in jail by now.’ It’s a comment staff at our unique ‘step-down’ post-prison accommodation have heard multiple times over the past two years.
The Maribyrnong Community Residential Facility, in Melbourne’s west, provides temporary accommodation and wraparound support to men leaving prison who would otherwise be homeless – a circumstance experienced by half of Victoria’s prison population, and a factor that can see people return to custody shortly after release.
“It’s been so successful in supporting people to complete parole, become stabilised, and get into employment, it makes sense to keep it going,” said Suzi James-Nevell, who manages Jesuit Social Services’ adult justice programs.
“Housing has always been a gap in the system. This facility has always been needed.”