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Homeless when released from prison

If you're in prison or youth detention and will have no home on release, find out about services that could provide practical support and help you find accommodation. You can also apply to the Council for housing assistance as a homeless person, we can assess your needs and work with you and any professionals helping you to find a home.

It's important for you to get in touch as soon as possible, before your release from prison, to give time for an assessment so that housing options can be explored.

The resettlement team or your probation officer should inform the housing advice service that you will be homeless upon release. With your consent they can complete a Duty to Refer.

If you have a history of offending and rough sleeping and local connection to the area, your probation officer, NACRO or the council can refer you to The Prison Navigator service. The prison navigator service work intensely with people on release from prison / or those who have recently been released, have a history of offending and homelessness and will support people to secure accommodation and access any other services the person needs.

Help if you are single and homeless

If you apply for housing assistance because you are homeless, we might not necessarily be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation. Our duty to you may be limited to providing you with advice and assistance and not accommodation. For a council to be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation it will have to be satisfied that you are eligible, homeless, in priority need and that you have not made yourself intentionally homeless.

The fact that you have been in prison does not in itself mean that the Council has to treat you as being vulnerable and in priority need for accommodation. We will need to assess the evidence and be satisfied that you have a priority need.

The council's housing advice service may decide that you are intentionally homeless if you were evicted from your previous home because of criminal or antisocial behaviour or because of rent arrears resulting from your time in prison.

If the Council decides you are intentionally homeless, it will only offer you limited help with finding housing. If you are in priority need, you may be offered temporary accommodation for a short period of time so as to assist you to find your own accommodation in the private sector.

What area can you be housed in if you are homeless?

When you apply as homeless, the housing advice service will check to see if you have a local connection with its area. You can establish a local connection, for example, by living, working, or having immediate family (usually a parent or brother or sister) in the area.

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 domestic violence, you can apply to any council in any area.

There may be restrictions placed on where you can live. For example, if an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) says you can't go to a particular area, you may need to seek help from a different council.

High risk prisoners managed by a Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) may be required to live in certain areas.

Help finding housing

National Probation Service provides support and supervision to offenders released into the community. Offenders serving sentences of 12 months or more are released on licence and live in the community supervised by the probation service until the end of their sentence. If you are released on licence, your probation officer may be able to help you find accommodation.

Prisoners may be able to get financial help with a release grant, to find out speak to your discharge team/ prison offender manager.

NACRO offer housing and support to people involved with the justice system

Contact Us

The Housing Advice service can provide you with housing and homelessness advice and assistance. Online referral form.

Tel: 0345 605 3010


If you are homeless and the council offices are closed, then you can contact the homelessness out of hours service on 0808 1692 333. You should only use this service if you have nowhere to stay immediately.