Shelter is the UK’s leading housing and homelessness charity that has been changing lives since 1966. Every day 188 families in England are made homeless. That means one family loses their home every 13 minutes. Shelter does its utmost to prevent this.
Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing and homelessness through their advice, support and legal services. They campaign to make sure that, one day, no one has to turn to them for help. They are here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. Their advisers and legal experts offer practical advice and support to help people find a home, keep a home, and improve their home. Because they help millions of people every year, they know better than anyone the issues that people are facing. They research these issues and develop policies to improve the housing situation for everyone. They campaign to tackle the root causes of the housing crisis so that, one day, no one will have to turn to them for help. Their work won't stop until there's a home for everyone.
Shelter aims to transform rehabilitation and reduce reoffending. They deliver offender resettlement services in partnership with Sodexo and Purple Futures in areas across the north of England, including Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and more. They provide support, advice and legal services to aid ex-offenders with housing, financial concerns, employment, education and more on their release from prison. The resettlement service, launched in May 2015, covers 20 prisons and involves:
Resettlement planning and crisis interventions;
Accommodation, finance/benefit/debt, education and employment interventions;
Signposting to other relevant services in the prison;
Pre-release resettlement planning within the last 12 weeks of a service users sentence;
Mentoring services in the community on release;
Community Integration services in the community on release.
Shelter strives every day to give people the help that they need and campaigns relentlessly to achieve their vision of a safe, secure, affordable home for everyone.
What is Through the Gate?
For many ex-offenders, release from prison can present a number of challenges. Provided with just £40 and a ticket to their next probation appointment, many have limited resources at their fingertips. A third of prisoners do not have a bank account, 13% have never had a job and in 2014/15 11% had no permanent place of residence to return to. This makes things like finding employment or somewhere to stay extremely hard.
Shelter aim to transform rehabilitation. Their Through The Gate (TTG) or Offender Resettlement services aim to resolve these difficulties. Staff work with ex-offenders to give them advice and support on housing, financial queries, employment, education, training, debt concerns, and more. If someone is unable to find permanent housing, employment or income they are more likely to reoffend and end up back in prison. Offender Resettlement Workers help to prevent this by providing vital services to reintegrate and rehabilitate ex-offenders successfully.
About Resettlement Careers
Careers in Offender Resettlement are enormously rewarding and worthwhile. They give you a real opportunity to make a difference to someone’s life and future.
Once someone is placed into custody, Shelter’s Resettlement Workers are likely to work with them at a number of stages throughout their imprisonment. This starts within the first seven days of them entering prison, where Resettlement Staff complete a Basic Custody Screening Test 2 (BCST2) with the individual (the first will already have been completed with prison staff). Crisis interventions are then provided within the five days that follow the BCST2 – this may involve dealing with a pet left at home or housing benefit claims. Resettlement Staff then engage in Pre-Release Planning within the last 12 weeks of the sentence to review the resettlement plan and identify any further interventions needed. These interventions are then implemented through continuous support and advice on the client’s release from prison.
At Shelter they value each other, listen, respond to people’s concerns, and work together to achieve their vision. They have three core values that drive all of their work; they're approachable, they challenge, and they are enterprising. It is thanks to these values that they are able to offer advice and influence change, but it is thanks to their staff that they are able to achieve success. All of Shelter's staff members receive a number of generous benefits to reward them for their hard work and dedication, these include:
A competitive salary
30 days of annual leave and bank holidays
Occupational sick pay
Season ticket loans
An Employee Assistance Programme and many more.
Shelter’s services offer a number of different careers in Offender Resettlement that could be the perfect opportunity for you. These include:
Peer Support Officer - aids the peer and volunteer programmes within prisons, providing continuous training and support. They are responsible for recruiting and teaching the Peer Mentors (offenders inside the HMP establishments working as support workers for Shelter). They also work in close partnership with the Resettlement and Pre-Release Planning teams, providing support and advice.
Offender Resettlement Triage Worker – prioritises the needs of the offender to ensure they get the right levels of support and intervention. They deliver a professional, impartial and focussed service to offenders, completing a resettlement plan for each offender and contributing daily to the functioning of the service.
Resettlement Worker - delivers a professional and focussed Resettlement Service to offenders, completing resettlement plans, carrying out housing or finance interventions, and providing mentoring support in a number of areas.
Senior Resettlement Worker - manages and supports Resettlement Workers when required, reviews quality standards, facilitates positive relationships with other agencies, contributes to the HMP Induction programme, and delivers a professional service to offenders in relevant resettlement prisons.
Team Leader - ensures Shelter meets their contractual targets by leading, manages and supports a multi-location team of Resettlement Workers, provides support with complex cases, and builds positive partnerships with resettlement contract partners.
Bridging the Gap; Prisoners and Resettlement Staff
For John entering prison for the first time was a very hard and sobering experience. His loss of freedom was the hardest thing to come to terms with. Working as a Peer Mentor for Shelter was one of the best choices he has made.
Working as a Peer Mentor at Askham Grange Open Prison
Rena is currently one of two Peer Advisors for Shelter at Askham Grange Open Prison for women. It is her job to offer support and advice when Shelter staff aren’t there. She discusses what her role involves and how it has helped her.
A Win Win for Resettlement Staff and Prisoners
For David, working as a Shelter Volunteer for the Through the Gate service has been a win-win situation for all concerned. It has been amazing for him to see how the little things he does can have such big effects on the lives of others.