Homeless When Released From Prison
- Help from Broxtowe Borough Council if you are single and homeless
- Priority need for prisoners and ex-offenders
- Prisoners and ex-offenders treated as intentionally homeless
- What area can you be housed in if you are homeless?
- Emergency accommodation if you have no housing
- Help finding housing in the private rented sector
If you apply to the Council for housing assistance because you are homeless, the council might not be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation. The Council’s duty to you might be limited to providing you with advice and assistance, and not actual accommodation. For the 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 Council will take into account if you have spent time in prison when deciding how to treat you, even if it has been some time since you were released.
The council will also look at whether you:
- have a mental illness
- have a learning disability or physical disability
- are under 21 or have been in care and are under 21
- were in the armed forces
- Are fleeing violence or threats of violence.The Council could decide not to provide you with permanent accommodation if it considers that you made yourself intentionally homeless.
In some circumstances, the Council might decide you are in priority need because you have spent time in prison or on remand.
The Council will consider whether you should be regarded as being vulnerable by virtue of the fact that you are homeless. This has a particular meaning for homelessness applications and is not the same as being labelled vulnerable in prison.
When considering your homelessness application, the council will look at:
- the length of time you spent in prison
- if any third party support is being provided to you either by the probation service, a youth offending team or a drug and alcohol team
- evidence provided by any third party (including any housing needs assessment)
- your homelessness vulnerability
- the period of time since your release from prison and how successful you have been in finding your own accommodation and in keeping that accommodation
- any third party support networks such as family, friends or a probation officer
- evidence of any other vulnerability such as mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse, or a history of having been in care
- any other factors that might have an impact on your ability to find accommodation yourself
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. The Council will need to assess the evidence before it and be satisfied that you will find it difficult to seek out and maintain accommodation for yourself compared to other people who are rendered homeless.
Contact Broxtowe Borough Council’s Housing Options Team on 0115917777 to find out more about how the Council decides if you are in priority need.
Broxtowe Borough Council’s Housing Options Team 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.
The Council may take the view that you should have known that your criminal activity could have resulted in you being sent to prison, and that this could lead to the loss of your home. The Council is less likely to decide this if the loss of your home didn't directly follow on from you being sent to prison, for example, if you made an arrangement for another person to pay the rent while you were away but that arrangement broke down.
The Council could also decide that you are intentionally homeless if you gave up your tenancy because your entitlement to housing benefit ended during a period in prison. It is very important to seek advice from the Housing Options Team, particularly in cases where it could be argued you were sent to prison for a crime that was not premeditated, or was not deliberate because you were not able to understand the consequences of your own actions.
This could be the case because of:
- having limited mental capacity
- mental illness
- an assessed substance abuse problem
If you apply to Broxtowe Borough Council as homeless, the Housing Options Team will check to see if you have a local connection with Broxtowe.
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. The council you apply to has to help you.
There may be restrictions placed on where you can live. For example, if an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) says you cannot go to a particular area, you may need to seek help from a different council. Find out more from Gov.uk web site about ASBOs.
High-risk prisoners managed by a multi-agency public protection arrangement (MAPPA) may be required to live in certain areas.
You may need to use emergency accommodation such as a hostel, night shelter or bed and breakfast accommodation if you have nowhere to go following your release. Hostels provide temporary accommodation. Some are direct access, which means you do not need a referral from an agency to use them.
Use Shelter's Directory (Opens in a New Window) or call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 to find services near you.
Search the Homeless England directory (Opens in a New Window)to find hostels, emergency and longer term accommodation and day centres in your area.
You could try to find housing in the private rented sector. Broxtowe Borough Council’s Housing Options Team will be able to advise you how to find out what housing is available locally and how to apply for benefit to help you with your housing costs. You might be able to get help with a deposit through Broxtowe’s Deposit Guarantee Scheme.