Commonweal Housing Ltd have today launched a new report

Commonweal Housing Ltd have today launched a new report by Institute of Criminology researchers – Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe and Jane Dominey. Re-Unite concerns a post-prison housing and support initiative for women and their children – so that women leaving prison can be quickly reunited with their children rather than being caught in a ‘Catch 22’ situation whereby women can’t get housing until they have their children with them, and they can’t get their children back from local authority care or relatives, until they have suitable housing. Commonweal Housing have written:

We are delighted to report that the Re-Unite programme has been positively evaluated for the third year running by Professor Gelsthorpe and Jane Dominey at the University of Cambridge.

The researchers found ‘seven signs of success’ and concluded that,

"Quite simply it would be a matter of huge regret if the excellent work of Re-Unite could not be continued. There is a moral imperative to make provision for women offenders and their children and Re-Unite already makes a positive contribution to the Government's Rehabilitation Revolution agenda".

The full evaluation report and a short summary can be viewed on the Re-Unite website.

The seven signs of success

  • Whether by providing tenancies, partnerships with housing associations or acting as a facilitator and negotiator with housing providers, Re-Unite has enabled service users to access accommodation.
  • The work of Re-Unite through new providers extends far beyond housing support; giving service users and their children access to a wide range of resources at Women’s Centres and in the wider community.
  • All Re-Unite providers offer excellent support to service users and their children. The work of skilful and committed staff is key to achieving this.
  • All Re-Unite providers have produced evidence of positive outcomes for women and their children: successfully managed tenancies, children no longer subject to care proceedings and improvements in mental health included.
  • Whilst the small-scale nature of Re-Unite and the newness of the replication projects mean that it is not possible to produce clear outcome data about re-offending by service users, case studies clearly illustrate the way that Re-Unite impacts on social problems that are linked with offending.
  • The work of Re-Unite is valuable to the community because it improves the circumstances of a vulnerable group in ways which have the potential to reduce social exclusion.
  • Cost benefit analysis shows that spending money on this vulnerable group of women and children pays dividends in terms of estimated reductions in the long term costs of emergency housing, health and other care.’