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A Sense of Place: a study of accessing housing for women exiting custody - housing first not housing last

Author: Tracey McMahon
Published: 2019

This study focused on twelve women who received a direct pathway for housing following their release from prison. Using data collated through semi-structured interviews gathered over a 12-month period, the study followed the lives of the women as they settled in to their homes after varying terms in prison. The findings revealed that some of the women had little or no support for a need for housing previously and that a direct through the gate pathway to housing evidenced in this report produced positive outcomes that benefitted the participants and in some cases, their children. The findings revealed, that long-term housing needs were not part of resettlement planning – instead inappropriate assessments and placements into temporary accommodation were consistent avenues that addressed a short-term response for the providers of services and did not reflect or accept the complexities of women’s lives. Furthermore, the study evidenced the use of the “Housing First” model and the benefits this brought for the women in that they were able to flourish and readily adapt to life as women in the community and begin to leave their time in prison, behind them.

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