Foundation News

Pioneering homelessness service to rehouse women offenders in Greater Manchester receives national award

Jigsaw Group’s pioneering homelessness service which has helped to rehouse women offenders in Greater Manchester with zero reoffending rates has won a national award.

Jigsaw Support’s Housing First was crowned ‘Homelessness project of the year’ (organisations with more than 4,000 homes) at the UK Housing Awards in London (1 May).

Since the service began in April 2015 in response to a lack of housing for women offenders, it has transformed the lives of 77 women from Tameside, Oldham and Stockport, making it one of the largest and longest running programmes of its kind.

The Housing First project emphasises housing as a basic human right and brings together housing providers in the region to help find permanent, safe and affordable homes for women to start to rebuild their lives.

It offers intensive and tailored support for as long as needed, including access to mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment and training and employment advice. 

All of the 77 women rehoused through the programme have been successful in managing their tenancies with no reoffending and no rent arrears, saving money on public services including the NHS. Many of the women also become mentors to help others facing the same challenges.

The University of York has evaluated and recognised Threshold’s Housing First achievements and the project continues to influence other homelessness strategies across the UK and Finland.

Following the success of the women offenders’ service, Threshold has recently extended its provision to domestic violence victims. It is also working with eight other housing providers in the region to deliver Greater Manchester Housing First in Tameside, Oldham and Stockport which went live on 1 April.

Kerrie Pryde, Director of Jigsaw Support said: “Many women with complex needs are not included in homelessness counts and become the ‘hidden homeless’ who are under-represented by traditional services.

“Our Housing First project offers support to women who would have otherwise fallen through the gaps in provision and we’re absolutely delighted that our work has received further national recognition with this award.

“We have lots of experience in delivering a range of support services and the launch of Jigsaw Support in the summer brings this work together so that we can help more vulnerable people across our North West and East Midlands communities.”