Prison and housing

Housing is known to improve health, training and employment prospects, providing a stable base for a return to community living.

If you are approaching release from prison or youth detention, allow several months to arrange a suitable place to live. It can take time to find the right place.

Housing costs and prison

Preparing for release

Discharged with no settled accommodation

Supporting someone in prison

Support agencies

Housing costs and prison

Universal Credit housing costs can be paid for up to six months if the prisoner is detained in prison for six months or less, or is on remand and received help with housing costs before going into prison. Contact the resettlement team for more information.

Housing benefit can continue for those serving 13 weeks or less. Those held in custody or on remand are entitled to Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks.

If you have a mortgage, check whether you have mortgage insurance, or qualify for SMI which is a loan towards the mortgage interest. Otherwise contact your lender to see what options you have.

A partner or relative remaining in the accommodation may also be able to claim benefits and pay towards the accommodation.

Preparing for release

There is resettlement support for prisoners nearing their release date; it includes help to find somewhere to live, with job seeking, training, benefits, health and debt advice. A DWP work coach will help organise benefit claims and with employment matters.

If you are facing homelessness ask your resettlement officer to refer you to your council's Housing Options service. We will ask about your housing situation and any health or other needs. We will work with you and any professionals supporting you to try and find you suitable housing.

Check the different types of housing available in Wiltshire at Looking for a home. These include supported housing which helps residents to develop independent living skills and successfully move on.

Discharge grants

Before your release you can apply for a £46 discharge grant and up to £50 for your first night's accommodation which is paid direct to the housing provider.

Discharged with no settled accommodation

We will work with you to try and avoid this but should it happen you may want to think about temporary solutions such as staying with family and friends, or at a B&B. We can help with emergency accommodation in some circumstances, and night shelters and day centres are available. For information on services for street homeless people visit Rough Sleeping?.

Supporting someone in prison

Most public authorities are required to identify and refer service users who may be threatened with homelessness to the local housing authority of their choice. The duty to refer applies to prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres, secure colleges, youth offending teams and probation services (including community rehabilitation companies).

You can refer eight weeks in advance and should do so wherever possible. The service user must consent to this although if they do not, and there are safeguarding concerns, you can still refer. To refer to Wiltshire Council please use the e-referral form. We will look at the person's needs and any conditions placed upon their living in the community, and advise and work with them to secure accommodation.

Support agencies

Home Group housing association runs 15 self contained flats in Trowbridge for high risk offenders. A tenancy management service is included. Lettings are short to medium term with help given to find move on accommodation. One flat is accessible. All referrals are through the probation or prison service.

Nelson Trust runs a sex worker outreach project which gives street sex workers in Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire one-to-one support. They can help you overcome addiction, protect yourself against sexual violence and domestic abuse, and find a safe and stable home.

Shelter has information for offenders and ex-offenders.

Turning Point offers support with mental health and problematic drug and alcohol use throughout Wiltshire.