Project launched to help prisoners assess housing options
Legal Services Agency has launched a new project which will provide support to people detained in HMP Greenock and Low Moss by offering tailored legal advice and representation, to empower individuals to understand their housing options and navigate legal processes.
The project, Disrupting Cycles of Disadvantage: Early Intervention in Homelessness is funded by St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity (Frontline Fund) for three years.
Around 40,000 people become homeless in Scotland each year, and those who encounter the criminal justice system are more likely to experience homelessness. Finding little to no person centered support to understand their circumstances, they are more likely to become trapped in cycles of homelessness and be exposed to circumstances which can lead to reoffending. The likelihood of this increases where there are other aggravating factors such as mental ill health, disabilities, alcohol and/or substance abuse and neurodiversity, as diagnoses are frequently missed and adequate healthcare is often not provided.
The project aims to challenge this inequality in society by providing support to people detained in HMP Greenock and Low Moss. The agency will work with individuals and their families within a few weeks of their custody into prison and in the six to eight weeks leading to their release, to establish their specific legal and other support needs.
By providing tailored legal advice and representation, Legal Services Agency says it will empower the people it works with to understand their housing options and navigate legal processes, enabling them to make informed decision.
Legal Services Agency said in a statement: “We are grateful to the St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity (Frontline Fund) for the opportunity to help people who have found themselves in a vulnerable position to retain or obtain a safe place in which they feel at home. This will provide the security that everyone deserves, and break the recurring cycle of homelessness and disadvantage.
“Whilst homelessness is a serious problem, it is one that can be overcome with suitable solutions which empower the people we work with to regain their independence and get the housing and health support they need. We are confident that through providing legal representation, improving accessibility to legal advice and providing specialist referrals for the appropriate service, together, we can make a difference.”