Home News Commonweal funds new feasibility study testing a Housing First alternative to custody for victims of domestic abuse

Lauren Aronin

Lauren is the Communications Officer at Commonweal Housing

Commonweal funds new feasibility study testing a Housing First alternative to custody for victims of domestic abuse

Commonweal Housing has partnered with Liverpool City Regional Combined Authority to investigate a Housing First approach for female victims of domestic violence who have committed a minor offence.

The charity will fund a feasibility study by Liverpool City Regional Combined Authority to test an alternative to custody for women victims of domestic abuse, by providing accommodation and intensive support to help aid behaviour change without the need for costly and harmful custodial sentences. 

Liverpool City Regional Combined Authority also seeks to evaluate ways a housing-first approach enables women to recover from their trauma with the support of their families and help avoid the breakdown of family relationships, which often occurs as a result of imprisonment. The funding comes as part of the Call for New Ideas 2022, Commonweal’s partnership programme, which enables front-line charities working across multiple sectors to apply for funding to conduct a feasibility study into an imaginative housing solution to social injustice. Commonweal announced four other feasibility study partners as part of the Call for New Ideas 2022.

Amanda Bloxsome, Best Practice and Partnerships Lead for Housing First at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding as we will now be able to determine the viability of scaling up Housing First provision to include this marginalised group of people; a potential outcome being that families stay together.”

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is the fifth and final organisation to join the charity’s Call for New Ideas 2022 cohort.

As part of the Call for New Ideas 2022, Commonweal is set to work with homeless charity Simon Community Northern Ireland to test how safe and trauma-informed women-only hostels can support single homeless women with complex needs. The study also aims to explore the effectiveness of an accompanying step-down accommodation service to help women transition back into the community. 

Mental health charity Servol Community Services received funding from Commonweal to evaluate housing in collaboration with criminal justice services for low-medium risk prison leavers with diagnosed mental health conditions. Commonweal has also partnered with leading homelessness charity Depaul Northern Ireland to investigate step-down accommodation alongside specialist support for women prison leavers to help break the cycle of re-offending.

To help address the lack of women-only emergency accommodation in the South West region, Commonweal will support women’s and children’s charity Trevi to investigate an alternative funding model for women-centered and women-only housing. 

The short-term feasibility studies will determine whether the proposed models could operate as practical property-based pilot projects, with the potential for Commonweal to provide housing and funding. Last year the charity supported seven studies, as part of the Call for New Ideas 2021,with four of the projects now moving towards full project development stage.

Amy Doyle, Deputy Chief Executive at Commonweal Housing, said: “We look forward to supporting our new partners to test their innovative housing initiatives. Our door is always open for potential partnership work aimed at housing and supporting marginalised groups of society, and encourage organisations with fresh ideas to get in touch.”

To find out how Commonweal could potentially support your organisation, please reach out by contacting: info@commonweal.org.uk

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