Housing advice on release from prison

If you will be homeless on release from prison, we will provide you with advice and assistance.

If you are going to be homeless when you are released from prison, you should speak with the prison’s supporting services as soon as possible and ask them to make a referral to us on your behalf.

Where possible it is best to contact us before leaving prison if you believe you are going to be homeless. We need to gather as much information as possible regarding your circumstances to provide you with the most appropriate advice and assistance  to find suitable accommodation up to 56 days before your release date. 

Visit our homelessness advice page to find out the support available.  

Help with money on release 

You can apply for a discharge grant of £82.39 before you are released. If you have found accommodation for your first night on release, you can also apply for an extra grant of £50 which will be paid directly to the accommodation provider.

The North Yorkshire local assistance fund can also help. You can apply 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 and to apply, visit the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund online portal

Help with housing costs

If you are receiving a state benefit or on a low income once released from prison, you can apply for help towards your rent.

If you are looking to rent a private rented property, the maximum amount of help you can get is set by the local housing allowance. Details are available on the local housing allowance page on the Government website. If you are under 35, you will only be able to get rent to cover you for a room in a shared house. Further details can be found in our housing benefit page.

If you are eligible to be released from prison but have licence conditions and need help with finding suitable accommodation

If your licence conditions mean you cannot return home, you should speak to your offender manager before you are released. 

If you are eligible to be released on tag, your offender manager will need to approve your intended accommodation to ensure that it complies with your sentence or licence conditions.

Some other housing providers will accept applications if you are on a tag. Contact the resettlement advice service on 0300 123 1999 for advice on other housing providers who accept these applications.

Options if your licence conditions mean you cannot return home

You should speak to your offender manager before you are released if your licence conditions mean that you cannot return home. If you are worried about where you will live for the duration of your licence, you can call our resettlement advice service on 0300 123 1999.

Bail and support scheme (CAS 2)

NACRO operates the bail and support scheme which offers accommodation and support for people who do not have a suitable address for the term of their licence or Bail Order. You will have to pay for this accommodation, but you may be able to claim benefits to help with the cost.

You will only be eligible for this service if you have been bailed by the courts or released from prison, initially on an electronic tag, having served a prison sentence. The overall aim of the service is to reduce unnecessary loss of liberty and its negative impacts on family life, employment and housing, and to deter people from re-offending.

You can phone the scheme on 0300 123 1889.

Community Accommodation Services (CAS 3)

The Community Accommodation Service Tier 3 (CAS3) provides temporary accommodation for up to 84 nights for homeless prison leavers and those moving on from Approved Premises or the Bail Accommodation and Support Service (CAS2), and assistance to help them move into settled accommodation. Your probation officer can make a referral to CAS 3 on your behalf.

Where to live after release

There are a range of options. 

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.

Social housing

If possible, before release, complete a housing application for social housing. Paper applications are also available.

Your application may be assessed under the unacceptable behaviour test, and you may not qualify for the housing register depending on your housing and offending history.

Supported housing

Supported housing can offer you specialist support to address specific issues that may have led to your imprisonment or to help you live independently and adjusting back into the community. Varying levels of support can be provided, depending on the type of accommodation service and your needs.

Private renting

The main advantage of private rented accommodation is that you will have more choice in terms of location and type of property. Private rented accommodation is an 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. We may 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. 

You may also wish to start looking at suitable private renting options on websites such as Right Move or Spare Room.

Options if you do not want to return to your local area

If you do not want to return to the local authority area you lived in before going to prison, get advice before you leave prison on what options might be available in the area you want to move to. 

Under the homeless legislation, if you go to an area where you do not have a connection, the local authority does not have to accept a duty towards you and can refer you back to an area where you do have a connection.

Your best option might be to return to your local area for a couple of months and make a planned move.

How you access the range of support available is different depending on where you live in North Yorkshire.

Support in the Harrogate area

Support in the Craven area

If you are returning to the Craven area, contact us.

We can discuss your housing options with you. 

Specialist supported housing in the Craven area 

There are two schemes in the Craven area that provide specialist supported housing. They are:

  • RACS - provided by Foundation Housing works with high need offenders
  • Pinder House - provided by Horton Housing offers intensive support to those with complex need

Referrals to both schemes should be made by your offender manager. 

Action Towards Inclusion - Craven College

Action Towards Inclusion provides keyworker support for individuals over 18 who are unemployed or economically inactive. Direct support is offered to help participants to progress into job-search, education, training and employment. Further details can be found on the Craven College website.

Support in the Richmondshire area

If you are returning to the Richmondshire area, contact us.

We can discuss your housing options with you. 

Support in the Scarborough area

If you are returning to the Scarborough area, contact us.

We can discuss your housing options with you. 

Support in the Selby area

If you are returning to the Selby area, contact us.

We can discuss your housing options with you. 

Horton Housing Association

Horton Housing is a not for profit organisation which provides housing, training and support services to the most vulnerable people in society. 

Horton Housing offers a range of services to provide housing advice and assistance. They work flexibly to engage with people who are homeless, securing short-term accommodation and helping them to move into longer-term settled accommodation.

Horton Housing also offers drop in services at Selby, Tadcaster and Sherburn-In-Elmet. To make a referral or contact them, call 01757 241051 or visit the Horton Housing website.

Help available from other agencies


P3 is a charity that supports offenders to unlock their potential and confidence. They offer support for people with any form of housing need to become independent, including help with finding somewhere to live or with maintaining existing accommodation. They can also offer help with claiming benefits and helping to integrate back into society and build confidence.

Find out more on the P3 website.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army offer general housing and homelessness support and aim to get people back into their local community. In many of their centres, they work closely with statutory authorities to help people who come out of prison to be rehabilitated back into society.

Find out more on the Salvation Army website.


Nacro work with people who may be at risk of re-offending and support them in the community. They can also offer low-level supported accommodation, aiming to reduce crime and prevent offending behaviour. Nacro assess people’s needs and work with them to develop an individually tailored resettlement action plan. They can work with both young and adult offenders in prisons and in the community, offering a wide range of services to support them to change their lives. Their goal is to reduce reoffending and help people to positively reintegrate into society.

Find out more on the Nacro website.