PEOPLE leaving prison rehabilitation can find themselves on the streets and a new homeless hub is aimed at making sure they get back on their feet as soon as possible.

Yesterday The Bolton News revealed the stories of five men who were living on the streets.

One man, Dean, aged 36, said he had been in and out of jail for 15 years. He said: "When you leave prison they put you up somewhere for two nights but on the third night you’re back on the streets. I’ve been doing that since I was 18."

When faced with bills and tenancy agreements he said it was easier to go back to prison.

Bolton's probation service has launched its homeless hub to help offenders who are homeless or in unstable accommodation.

The Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGMCRC) supervises people released from prison on licence and individuals sentenced by the courts to a range of community-based orders.

There are currently 429 people in Bolton on Community Orders and a further 134 on licence from custody, as well as 86 on post sentence supervision ­— a new initiative supporting those released from short prison sentences.

CGMCRC’s Bolton office, in Nautica House, Waters Meeting Road, launched the hub last month. It runs a drop-in centre for four hours every Wednesday afternoon.

With the help of Asda, people visiting the hub will have access to a foodbank and there will be help and advice on offer as well as the opportunity to access other services in the town, like the newly formed Bolton Homeless Alliance.

Nadine Roberts, a CGMCRC case manager, has been working in probation in the town for more than 20 years and was tasked with setting up the hub.

She said: “More of our service users are coming to us as homeless. That can mean they are sofa surfing or are actually street homeless, and this obviously presents serious difficulties to making progress.

“To make positive change, the research, our experience and common sense shows that you need settled accommodation, support and belief in a goal.

“The idea behind the hub is that homeless people tend to live chaotic lifestyles, often they don’t have a watch and things we take for granted. Expecting them to turn up at 9.15am for a fixed appointment is never going to work.

“By holding a drop-in centre, it removes one of those barriers to successful completion and also enables us to bring in wrap around services to help engage people and give them a route towards a more stable lifestyle.”

The hub is attended by housing support and drug services, and other partner agencies are due to participate. Attendees can also access computers, so they can process benefit claims, work on CVs and register housing requests.

Of Asad's support Ms Roberts said: “They have donated a significant amount of long-lasting food. It’s so important because that gives an added reason for offenders to attend and even more crucially provides them with quality food.”

Christine Baldwin, Asda’s community champion at the Bolton store in Moss Bank Way, said: “We know there is a genuine need because we see homeless people in our store and the surrounding area and we are keen to help.

“When Nadine contacted us and said probation was opening up its premises to support homeless people, which is a lovely gesture, we were only too happy to back the initiative.”