Help Annys Darkwa support ex-offenders at their most vulnerable moments

by Vision Housing
Rewards

About the project

Goals

Extend the Vision £400
£35
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
What is your solution?
How will you deliver this?

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Have a cup of tea and think about how you could help us.
  • 5 minutes
    Could you provide work, education or training for one of our clients? Send us an email.
  • 15 minutes
    Do you know anyone else that could help us? Send them an email.
  • 30 minutes
    Is there anyone you know who would be willing to become a patron? Write to them!
  • A few hours
    Act as a mentor to one of our clients.
  • Regular time commitment
    Come and work with us. We have a fantastic team and we are going to expand across the UK

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Nick Burton 02 February 2011 - 21:00

This is a great project, and having seen Annys speak and supported her in the past I can say that she is an inspiration in the way that she approaches this project. She will do much good with your support.

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Vision Housing provides housing advice and support to ex-offenders (and other vulnerable people) prior to and on release from prison. Our service users come to us at an extremely vulnerable stage in their lives and we provide support and advice to help them try to prevent them re-offending. Since 2007, we have built up a database of Landlords and Estate Agents that will accept people that are on benefits. This list is regularly reviewed and updated. Prior to the formation of Vision Housing, the vast majority of private sector landlords would not accept our clients. Specific services we provide: Housing advice - Vision Housing has a deep understanding of the rules and regulations that govern this area. This has been built up over an extensive period of time. We provide our service users with consistent advice on local authority housing law and their entitlements. Administrative support – We also provide our users with help with administration, working with them to help complete housing application and benefit forms, access rent in advance schemes, and help them secure deposits. We also help them access Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants. Attend application meetings – We learned that users found attending interviews to get access to loans and benefits to be quite a daunting experience. They were not always getting consistent advice and access to benefits. To resolve this, we now jointly attend these interviews so we can be confident that they get the support that they need and are entitled to. Sign-posting to other support groups - Through our work to date, we have built up an wide-ranging network of organisations that can provide additional help with specific needs. We take time to understand what each of our users need and this goes well beyond their housing needs. We use our knowledge, experience and network to help put together a support package that is tailored to their specific needs. Ongoing support and trouble-shooting – We know from our experience, and have evidence to support this, that users not only need advice on release from prison but ongoing support if they are to become fully rehabilitated. We work with our key stakeholders (eg probation and the police) to monitor the progress of each individual and their family for as long as they need and want. Reporting to our key stakeholders - We understand the need for referring organisations to know how well their clients are doing. We provide regular updates on our users housing situation, progress on settling into new accommodation, training, employment and engaging with other organisations.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Our track record

Since 2007, Vision has grown from nothing to be an established, award-winning social enterprise that has made a real difference to the lives of a large number of vulnerable people. We have overcome many institutional challenges. Vision is run by ex-offenders for ex-offenders and this is what makes it unique. We can talk to our clients on their level and this should not be under-estimated. We understand where they are coming from and can predict and prevent situations where they could be at risk. We have worked hard to establish a good reputation with referring organisations, our users and our landlords. In doing so, we have had to overcome all of the prejudices you might expect. 1. We have built up a network of private sector landlords. Prior to Vision, there were hardly any private sector landlords that were prepared to offer accommodation to ex-offenders on benefits. Vision has changed this. We have convinced landlords that their property will be looked after and have earned a reputation based on the support we provide. 2. We have housed over three hundred vulnerable people. We are proud to say our re-offending rate is significantly lower (~10%) than the national average in London (75%) and we want to keep it that way. 3. We have established credibility with a large number of stakeholders. Vision deals with individuals who are at an extremely vulnerable stage of their lives. Many have mental health and addiction problems. We have managed to convince a large number of referring organisations, including the Metropolitan Police, that we can be trusted to help and advise vulnerable people. 4. We have managed to operate with very little funding. We are extremely fortunate to have been given a number of grants that have helped us to survive and grow. The next stage of funding is needed to take Vision to a new level and to increase the scale and scope of the services we provide. 5. We have put robust governance arrangements in place. When Vision first started, it was one person, one car and one mobile phone. We now have our own offices in South and North London. We have a board of trustees and, from March 2008, we are now registered as a charity. 6. We are well on the way to become fully sustainable. In 2008, we have become charging referring organisations for our services. 7. We are marketing our services. We are promoting Vision. We have held a number of networking events, are engaging with local and national media and plan to increase this going forward

Who do we help?

We support ex-offenders and vulnerable people and prevent re-offending.

How do we deliver this?

We provide sustainable accommodation and support for as long as they want and need us.

Awards And Recognitions

1. Centre for Public Innovation (2008) – Innovator of the Year, Annys Darkwa 2. Andy Ludlow Homelessness Awards (2008 and 2010) 3. Eco Actif award (2008) – Active Citizen, Vision 4. UnLtd Level 1 and 2 award winner 5. PSA16 best practice - Cabinet Office 6. Community channel 7. Featured on R4 Today programme (2010) 8. Centre for Social Justice Award Winner (2011)