Keeping your existing home
You might be entitled to help with paying your rent or mortgage if you are in prison in England, Wales or Scotland. This National Housing Advice Service factsheet gives extensive advice surrounding this situation covering the following topics:
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Can somebody else pay your rent
- Subletting a room in your home
- Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
- Report a change in your circumstances
'Through the gate' services
If you are still serving a sentence of 12 months or less, ‘Through the gate’ services are available in prison and can advise you how to find housing on release from prison. NACRO’s Resettlement Advice Service provide advice on your housing options after leaving prison on their website, or by calling 0300 123 1999.
Stay with family and friends
It is often difficult to get housing on release from prison, so this can be a good short-term option if you have family or friends that you can stay with. This period of time can help you to get back on your feet, save some money and make a planned move to more stable accommodation.
Hostel accommodation or supported housing
Hostel places and supported housing rooms are limited – you may need to go on a waiting list. Some hostels and supported housing are only for certain groups, such as people with mental health problems, or under 25s. You may be able to claim benefits to pay the rent.
If you are on a low income, you may be able to claim benefits to help with paying rent for a private rented home. How much you can get depends on your income, age, and the size and location of the property. If you are under 35, benefits will usually only pay for a room in a shared house. Landlords or letting agents will want references, a deposit, rent in advance, and proof that you can pay the rent.
All council or housing association homes for rent in Somerset are advertised on Homefinder Somerset. People who are registered with Homefinder Somerset can view the homes being advertised and tell us which homes they would like to be considered for. This is called bidding but does not involve any money.
Demand for social housing in Somerset far outweighs supply. On 1 April 2022, there were nearly 10,000 applicants on the Homefinder Somerset scheme. From April 2021 to March 2022 there were just over 2,000 homes advertised. This means many people are registered on the scheme for a long time without being made an offer of a home.
Get homelessness assistance
If you are leaving prison and are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you have the right to make a homelessness application to us.