Leaving prison and nowhere to live

Leaving prison and nowhere to live

What to do if you’re an ex-offender or someone who’s just left prison and you don’t have anywhere to live

Before you leave prison

If you’re not going to have anywhere to live when you’re released from prison you must speak to your prison’s housing officer as soon as possible. 

If your sentence is for 12 or more months you’ll probably be released on licence. This means you’ll live in the community but you’ll be supervised by the probation service until the end of your sentence.

If you’re going to be released on licence, your probation officer will find you a place to stay, or they’ll make a homelessness application to us on your behalf. In some situations, we may have a duty to provide you with accommodation when you're released.

You must have a local connection to Bristol

To qualify for help from us you must have a local connection to the area.

You have a local connection with Bristol if you live, work, or have immediate family here. You don’t necessarily have a local connection if you’ve just spent time in prison here.  

If you have no local connection with any area, you can apply to any council in any area. 

There may be a restriction on where you can live

You may need to ask for help from a different council if there are restrictions on you living in Bristol. This may be because you have an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) that says you can’t go to a particular area.

If you’re a high risk prisoner managed by a Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) you may have to live in certain areas.

Help with money 

The prison service will give you a discharge grant when you leave prison. This is money to help with your costs until your benefits are sorted out.

If you’ve got accommodation for your first night, you may be given an extra £50 to pay for it. The money will be paid directly to the landlord or person providing the accommodation.

You may be able to prepare for your release when you’re in prison by:

  • saving some of your prison wages
  • opening a credit union account 

Ask your prison for details.

Other services who can help you

Impact Pathways Bristol: information and advice for vulnerable and disadvantaged people involved with the criminal justice system

Clinks website: directory of voluntary agencies that work with offenders and their families

Shelter: help if you’re an ex-prisoner and homeless

Why it’s important to have a fixed address

Having a fixed address will make it much easier for you to settle back into normal daily life if you’ve recently left prison.

Having a fixed address can help you:

  • get a job
  • register with a doctor
  • receive drug or alcohol treatment

Find a home with a private landlord 

We can help you find a home with a private landlord if you're homeless or threatened with homelessness. We can also talk to you about how to apply for certain benefits to help you with your housing costs. 

Apply for a council or housing association home

You can also apply for a council or housing association home on the Home Choice Bristol website.