Housing advice after leaving prison

Most prisons have a housing advice and resettlement service made available to you prior to leaving prison.

A resettlement worker can help you with things like:

  • referrals for suitable accommodation if you’ll be homeless on release
  • dealing with a housing benefit claim while you’re in prison
  • claiming universal credit on release
  • rent arrears or eviction.

Your resettlement worker in prison works on your resettlement plan with the probation officer assigned to you on your release from prison. 

You need a suitable address to stay at before you can be released on bail or home detention curfew (with an electronic tag). If you can’t live at your usual address, then court or prison staff may refer you to the Bail Accommodation Support Scheme (BASS).

You can also contact the Nacro Resettlement Advice Service on 0300 123 1999.

Help from the probation service

Your probation officer manages your supervision in the community where you’ll be living. 

If you’re released on license, the conditions of your license might mean you can’t live in certain areas.

Probation teams can give you housing advice and may be able to refer you to a specialist hostel, supported housing, or private landlord services.

We will work with your probation officer, community rehabilitation services, or youth offending team to give you support to find and keep a place to live. You can apply to other councils for help, but it’s usually best to apply to an area where you have a local connection.

Application considerations for ex-prisoners

Time spent in prison in a specific area does not give you a local connection with the area where the prison is located. However, if you have no local connection with any area or if you are fleeing violence, you can apply to councils in other areas. 

You cannot be referred to a specified area if:

  • you are at risk of violence there
  • an injunction, such as an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), says you can’t go to that particular area. Find out more about injunctions for anti-social behaviour 
  • you're a high-risk prisoner managed by a multi-agency public protection arrangement (MAPPA).

How we can help with homelessness

You can apply for homelessness advice and assistance if you are being released from prison within eight weeks (56 days) and you don't have anywhere to stay. If you have left prison and are currently homeless, let us know and we will assess you for a priority need. If we are unable to prevent or relieve your homelessness, we may have a duty to provide you with longer-term, temporary accommodation. 

Normal eligibility criteria will apply, such as being considered 'intentionally homeless'. An example of this may include if you lost your home because you:

  • were convicted of a serious offence
  • didn’t pay rent while in prison.

We'll also consider:

  • any support you get from friends or family
  • your physical and mental health and how it affects you
  • how long you spent in prison and when you were released
  • if you’ve been able to find or keep accommodation since being released.

We will speak to agencies involved in your support and supervision, including drug and alcohol services.

Help with housing costs

You can apply for grants, such as a discharge grant, before your release. You may also get help through Discretionary Housing Payments if appropriate. 

However, you may need to claim universal credit for any housing costs unless you live or move in with a partner who is already claiming benefits. 

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