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.