The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is set to pilot a multi-million pound scheme to address homelessness among ex-prisoners.

Around 500 people leaving custody are to be supported into good quality temporary accommodation, as part of an almost £3 million Government scheme launching in the city-region.

The Greater Manchester Community Accommodation Service will deliver an anticipated 162 units of accommodation across the 10 boroughs, suitable for a stay of up to 12 weeks, assisting prison-leavers with their transition back into the community and reducing the risk of homelessness.

The scheme is tailored to provide temporary accommodation to people leaving custody who would otherwise be homeless and have nowhere safe to stay upon release.

Paul Dennett, GMCA)'s lead on housing and homelessness, said: "For too long we have heard stories of individuals living on the streets because, once they left custody, they had nowhere else to go. This is why it’s an important scheme, aligning Ministry of Justice, HMPPS, GMCA and our local authorities and other agencies to all work together to prevent homelessness once people leave prison.

"Innovative schemes already in place in Greater Manchester, such as A Bed Every Night, have been designed to address street homelessness. But now this Community Accommodation Service means there ought not to be a risk of homelessness for a prison-leaver. In 2021 no-one should have to sleep outdoors, and in Greater Manchester we are working hard not just to end the need for rough sleeping, but to prevent all forms of homelessness through our new Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy."

The accommodation will be fully self-contained or en-suite. The maximum length of stay within the scheme will be 12 weeks, with the aim of securing safe and appropriate accommodation by this time. This could be with friends or family, in further temporary or supported accommodation if required, or in a settled tenancy.

Chris Edwards, regional probation director for Greater Manchester, said: "Housing is one of the key requirements offenders need to start a new life free from crime. Stable accommodation also provides a firm foundation for people to access other support, such as in addressing drug misuse issues and furthering employment opportunities.

“We have worked hard to ensure this scheme builds on, and is integrated with, the excellent work involving a range of agencies already taking place across Greater Manchester to reduce homelessness."

Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, added: "The drive to tackle homelessness across Greater Manchester will be aided greatly by this Community Accommodation Service, which should significantly improve the transition of prison-leavers back into our communities."

This new scheme is backed by £2,962,440 of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) funding.

The Community Accommodation Service is expected to support around 500 people leaving custody over the next 12 months.