Some people become homeless because they were homeless before entering an institutional setting or because previous accommodation arrangements have broken down or are now unsuitable.
This is review looks specifically at the effectiveness of discharge programmes for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless - the first of its kind.
John had been in and out of prison for over 30 years. Discharge was the same each time; a small amount of money and nowhere to stay.
'In 2016 I was released with £42. I didn’t get the sleeping bag they were supposed to give us because the prison had run out. You’d have thought there would be support around housing because if you go to prison for a long time you lose your home. You have to wait a month before you can claim benefits, you have no options. I was given no help whatsoever and told to report to a probation officer.'
This systematic review explores the existing evidence of the effectiveness of discharge programmes for people living in institutional settings such as in-patient health facilities, the armed forces, and prison. Even if the number of studies included is small, of mixed methodological quality and exclusively from the USA, it underscores that discharge programmes can be effective at reducing homelessness.
The results are encouraging as they show that discharge programmes can be effective in reducing homelessness and hospitalisations and may be effective in reducing re-incarceration post-discharge. However, the evidence is of mixed methodological quality, exclusively from the USA and limited to only a few outcome domains. Thus, more, high quality research is needed to improve the evidence base for the effectiveness of discharge programmes.
Find out more about how we can ensure that people leaving prison have both safe accommodation and immediate access to services, and what role this plays in reducing reoffending in the panel discussion below.
Rosie Reynolds, Practice and Partnerships Lead at Centre for Homelessness Impact (Chair),Dalton Harrison, Trans and prisoner rights activist, poet with lived experience, Paula Harriott at Prison Reform Trust, Lorna Griffiths, Pre-Release Coordinator, The Nelson Trust, explore this topic at the 2022 Birmingham Impact Forum
Jennifer Hanratty, Queen's University Belfast
Sarah Miller, Queen's University Belfast
Systematic review: Do discharge programmes reduce the likelihood of homelessness?
Our Head of Evidence and Data, Guillermo Rodriguez-Guzman, shares key findings from our systematic review, on the effectiveness of discharge programmes for individuals experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
“Discharged back to the streets”: how can we ensure people leaving institutions have a home?
In order for us to work towards an evidence-based end to homelessness, tackling the causes, minimising and eventually eliminating the effects, it is vital that we look at all routes into homelessness.