New Sheffield homes for people with a history of offending

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

People with a history of offending will be helped with new homes and extra support in Sheffield.

Research shows homeless people who are offenders cost the public purse £20,200 per person per year, compared to the average cost of £4,600.

Now the council will provide around 110 properties and support for six to 12 months to help people live independently and find employment or voluntary work.

There will be a mix of self-contained one bed and shared two-bed properties and the council has already identified 24 places with 33 beds.

It will be an alternative to hostels which are not always suitable and there will be units specifically for women.

Where possible offenders who are sentenced to a short prison term will get support to keep their accomodation and stop them becoming homeless.

The service will also provide a “warm handover” to new landlords to help people settle in.

Dawn Walton, director of commissioning, inclusion and learning, says in a report: “Service users often have a history of risk behaviours and/or anti social behaviour.

“Some will be directly released from prison without accommodation or recently released and inadequately housed. This places them at risk of rough sleeping and potential further offending.

“In recent years there has been an increase in people with multiple needs and risky behaviours whose needs are difficult to meet.

“This makes it difficult to place people needing support in the right type of accommodation. This is particularly the case for the relatively small number of women who need this type of service.”

Officers say the service will reduce homelessness, helps people resettle into communities, prevent them reoffending and avoid the unnecessary use of emergency and crisis services.

The report adds: “The number of people coming straight from prison with a recent offending history accessing all homelessness services is about 270 per year. This might well be underestimated.

“There is an increasing percentage of single women who have multiple needs and risk in supporting housing services. There has been a 33 per cent increase in women from 2016.”

There is some supported accommodation for women – but it is in high demand with a waiting list, so the new service will be a welcome addition.