Pioneering partnership to reduce reoffending in Victoria by providing housing and support

  • New partnership offers unique solution to reduce reoffending and homelessness among people leaving prison
  • The Arc program will provide 420 people leaving prison with pre-release and post-release support, along with access to stable housing
  • The program will be funded by a Social Impact Bond which brings together multiple government agencies, not-for-profit providers and private investor

Social Ventures Australia (SVA), Vacro, the Victorian Government and housing providers have formed a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Arc Social Impact Bond (SIB), to better support people leaving prison and reduce reoffending and homelessness.

Currently in Australia, more than half of people leaving prison face homelessness on release and almost half are reincarcerated within two years, with clear evidence linking these two statistics. The new $9 million Arc SIB aims to disrupt this cycle, which comes at a significant social and financial cost for the community, with a program that is unique in both the solution it offers and how that solution is financed.

The Arc program will be the Victorian Government’s fifth Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage initiative and draws on Vacro’s innovative reintegration framework and a housing first approach. This evidence-based program provides people leaving prison with at least three months of pre-release support, two years of intensive case management support post-release and access to stable housing, providing a base to create a new narrative arc for their life.

The program will be funded using a financing mechanism called a social impact bond. Private investors will provide capital to fund the Arc program, and their returns are dependent on the outcomes achieved by the program. This is because the Arc SIB is expected to save the Victorian Government money through reductions in usage of justice, health and homelessness services. These measured reductions become the basis of outcomes-based payments by the Government which ultimately provide a return to investors.

SVA is proud of the pioneering work it has done in the social impact bond sector in Australia. The Arc SIB is the ninth that SVA has launched over the last decade, including Australia’s first SIB, the Newpin Social Benefit Bond.

SVA CEO Suzie Riddell commented: ‘The Arc Social Impact Bond is a unique opportunity to support around 420 people leaving prison to create better lives for themselves. Supporting evidence-based programs to operate on a larger scale allows us to build our knowledge around ‘what works’ for people leaving prison to have better outcomes.’

We are thrilled to be part of this partnership that breaks down traditional silos by working across three government agencies, service and housing providers, and private investors. We hope it will be a model for collaboration that puts people at the centre of policy, commissioning and service decisions.’

Vacro CEO Marius Smith said: ‘When they leave prison, our participants plan to find a job, reconnect with their children and much more, but they face often insurmountable barriers. Arc brings together everything that evidence – and our experience – tells us is necessary for success, including a stable home base and sustained case management support. Our goal is to demonstrate that this model is the best way to assist people leaving prison, with the aim of changing reintegration support in Victoria forever.’

Haven Home Safe CEO Trudi Ray said: “Ending homelessness can only be realised through impactful partnerships such as Arc as there is a clear interaction between the criminal justice system and disadvantage that can lead to homelessness. Together with Vacro, we will support people leaving prison to create a new life for themselves, of which stable housing is the foundation.”

The Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said: “Victorians leaving prison are at a very high risk of homelessness, that makes it even harder for them to build a stable, healthy life and find a job. That’s why we’re supporting a new program to reduce homelessness and reoffending and improve health outcomes. The Arc Partnership Addressing Disadvantage aims to break the cycle, giving housing support and the chance of a new life to people who are starting over. This means fresh hope for people exiting the justice system, and better outcomes for their children and their families.”


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Emma Glyde

About SVA

SVA is a not-for-profit organisation that works with partners to alleviate disadvantage – towards an Australia where all people and communities thrive. SVA influences systems to deliver better social outcomes for people by learning about what works in communities, helping organisations be more effective, sharing our perspectives and advocating for change.

About Vacro

Vacro is a specialist criminal justice reintegration service provider operating across metropolitan and regional Victoria, and has been operating for over 150 years. For the Arc Program, Vacro is partnering with a number of experienced community housing providers, including Housing Choices Australia, Beyond Housing, Haven Home Safe, Women’s Property Initiatives and Uniting Vic.Tas to provide the accommodation required for the program.