SOCIAL justice charity Commonweal Housing is offering funding to frontline organisations across the UK to test new and innovative housing-based solutions to address injustices within the criminal justice system.
Through the charity’s Call for New Ideas partnership programme, Commonweal invites not-for-profit organisations to apply for funding between £5,000-10,000 to conduct a short-term feasibility study to evaluate a housing and support model tackling issues facing vulnerable individuals who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.
The feasibility study will determine if there is scope for the proposed model to operate as a property-based pilot project, which Commonweal would look to support by providing bespoke property for successful applicants to run their pilot over several years. The charity would support partners throughout the project development stage until the end of its life cycle, including sharing learnings through media and policy work, and project replication.
This year marks the fourth year the charity has opened its flagship Call for New Ideas programme. Commonweal has over 15 years of experience supporting partners to run pilot projects testing housing solutions to address injustices facing marginalised groups. This includes a supportive housing project for unpaid young adult carers and safe housing and support for destitute migrants.
At the start of the year, the social justice charity identified three priority focus areas where injustices have been overlooked or where housing as part of the solution requires greater exploration. These are: the criminal justice system, migration, asylum and human trafficking and injustices facing young people.
While Commonweal is only seeking submissions centred around the criminal justice system, it greatly welcomes ideas that intersect across criminal justice and either migration, asylum and human trafficking or injustices facing young people or both. Then in 2024, the Call for New Ideas will reopen twice to focus on the other priority areas specifically.
The criminal justice system has been a focus of Commonweal’s work for several years, with the charity’s flagship Re-Unite project supporting mothers leaving prison released into homelessness to regain custody of their children. Although Commonweal believes the housing element of the criminal justice system and injustices relating to youth justice and the over-representation of ethnic minorities require greater attention.
Prison leavers released without stable housing arrangements in place are around 50 percent more likely to re-offend, emphasising the critical role housing plays for individuals leaving prison. But, despite this, the total of ex-offenders released into homelessness remains high, with more than one in ten prisoners released into homelessness in 2021-22.
Amy Doyle, Deputy Chief Executive at Commonweal Housing, said:
“For individuals involved in the criminal justice system, access to safe and stable housing helps lay the foundations for a new life by significantly reducing the rate of reoffending. Although a multitude of barriers prevents prison leavers from accessing the housing support they desperately need to move on with their lives.
“At Commonweal, we have a long history of using our charitable resources to scratch beneath the surface to explore creative ways housing can address social injustice and inequalities. From initial lightbulb ideas to more developed initiatives, we want to hear from forward-thinking frontline organisations keen to test and trail how housing can address issues within the criminal justice system.”
Call for New Ideas Details:
Commonweal is searching for original ideas from not-for-profit organisations of all sizes and across all areas of the UK, but especially from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME)-led and BAME-focused organisations.
Applications close at 5pm on Friday 29th September 2023.
Full information and an application form can be found at: https://www.commonwealhousing.org.uk/partner-with-us/call-for-new-ideas.
Prospective applicants can get in touch with Commonweal Housing to discuss potential ideas and ask any questions at: email@example.com.