Richmondshire District Council

Homelessness on release from prison

If you will be homeless on release from prison the district council will provide you with advice and assistance and will carry out an assessment of your needs.

You need to inform us as soon as possible if you believe you are going to be homeless upon your release - for advice and assistance to find suitable accommodation up to 56 days before your release date. It is likely that this could be accommodation within the private sector.

What you can do before your release

You can apply for a discharge grant of £46 from prison before you are released. If you have found accommodation for your first night on release, you can also apply for an extra grant of about £50 which will be paid directly to the accommodation provider.

The North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund can also help. You can apply to this fund before you are released, particularly if you need help with essential items such as clothes or general costs associated with moving into new accommodation. For further information visit their application portal.

Where to live

Family and friends

Most people leaving prison return to family or friends, at least in the short term. However, if those relationships have broken down, it may be possible to rebuild bridges, perhaps with the help of prison staff. It is very difficult to secure housing on release as waiting lists for social housing are long, so it is very important not to dismiss this as an option.

Emergency housing options

If you need somewhere to stay in an emergency, your options include:

  • Richmondshire District Council's housing options team (telephone 01748 901150)
  • Direct access hotels
  • No second night out scheme
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation

You can find details of local night shelters, direct access hostels and day centres by contacting the Resettlement Advice Service on 0300 123 1999 for advice.

Supported housing providers

These can offer you specialist support to address specific issues that may have led to your imprisonment or to help you live independently and adjust back into the community. Varying levels of support can be provided, depending on the type of accommodation service and your needs. These providers can be accessed through the district council.

Private renting

The main advantage of private rented accommodation is that you will have a greater degree of choice in terms of location and type of property. It is the obvious choice if you have some savings. It is also something that your family and friends can help you to look for and, where possible and necessary, lend money for in order to secure a property. Your local council might also be able to give you advice about what is available in your local area and how you can get help with paying the rent bonds and rent in advance through a Credit Union.

Rental help

To rent a property you will usually need:

  • good character references (previous landlord or employer)
  • money for a deposit and rent in advance
  • money to cover your rent

If you need help to pay your rent, you can apply for housing benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element. The amount payable to you will depend on where you live and who else lives with you, and is worked out according to the local housing allowance. Local housing allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area. The rates range from a single room in a shared house up to properties with four bedrooms.

If you are under 35, you will only be able to get rent to cover you for a room in a shared house. You must be at least 35 years old to qualify for a self-contained one-bedroom property. Further details can be found on our housing benefit page.

Licence conditions

If your licence conditions mean you cannot return home you should speak to your offender manager before you are released. In some cases, you might be referred to approved premises such as a probation hostel. Places however are very limited and are generally reserved for those who are considered high risk and are under multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA). If you are worried about where you will live for the duration of your licence call the Resettlement Advice Service on 0300 123 1999.

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