Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Shelter reaches out

May 18 2009
The Housing Prison Advice Service provides a range of services for offenders and ex-offenders in prisons across the UK Shelter's Housing Prison Advice Service was set up in Yorkshire and Humberside in 2004. It now provides a range of services for offenders and ex-offenders in a large number of prisons in East Midlands, London, Kent, Surrey and Newcastle. The service is extremely valuable, as prisoners often lose their homes while in custody. Shelter advisors work with resettlement teams within the prisons, providing frontline and second-tier housing advice, information, advocacy and support to prisoners and their families. The charity has also launched a special service for women offenders and ex-offenders in HMP Newhall. 'Together Women' provides advice during custody and upon release. Access to housing support and advice is a key factor in preventing homelessness among potentially vulnerable people. Shelter runs a number of schemes to increase awareness in various areas to try and prevent homelessness occurring in the first place. 'Ricochet', Shelter's young person's resource centre in Rotherham, was named by young people in the area who were fed up with being passed from one agency to another. It tackles the issues of homelessness in local schools and colleges. Homeless people involved in the programme take part in a 12-week training schedule and receive a BTEC award in peer education upon completion of the course, equivalent to two GCSEs. The peer educators share their experiences of homelessness with pupils in Years 10 and 11, challenging stereotypes of homelessness, talking about the advantages and disadvantages of leaving home and the planning involved in leaving. Shelter even aims to start educating children at primary school level about youth homelessness, developing the 'Housemate' learning pack for teachers in primary schools and 'The Housing Game' board game to get young people talking about home.