There are many social causes like affordable housing, unemployment and poverty that force people into homelessness. Although prisons have an obligation to refer prisoners to housing services and help them in obtaining a personal housing plan, in reality this does not always happen. Tens of thousands of people that are released from prison are placed into temporary accommodation. However, there are still several thousands that are released homeless each year. It is sad, but true to state that some prisons give out tents and survival packs to prisoners when they leave prison.
When you leave the prison there are a number of housing options available to you.
Family & Friends
If you have friends or family and your relationship has not broken down due to imprisonment, this could be a good short term option.
Hostels and night shelters in Luton
Places in a hostel are usually limited and you might need to go on a waiting list. Some hostels are restricted to only certain groups ie for people under 25s, so best to check before making arrangements. For hostels you are required to pay rent. Nightshelters on the other hand, are free of charge but offer very basic facilities like a mattress and food. These are usually run by charities and some churches. There are a number homelessness services available to you in Luton:
Centrepoint provides housing and support to young people. The charity support homeless young adults aged 16-25 and aim to end youth homelessness in the UK. HRH The Duke of Cambridge has been charity’s Patron since 2005 – following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana. 0808 800 0661
Signposts is here to help people who are homeless in Luton and Dunstable. For over 30 years, they have provided residential and supporting services to anyone who is unable to find suitable accommodation to meet their needs. The aim of Signposts is to help clients achieve their maximum potential to live and develop in the community. Signposts have grown considerably since then, and now have thirteen properties providing 137 bed spaces. 01582 722629
Mary Seacole Housing Association
Mary Seacole Housing Association provides support and accommodation to single homeless people in Luton, helping them on a path to greater independence. They operate a range of accommodation services, from homes with support, through to semi-independent housing, to help people at every stage of their journey into settled accommodation. Majority of clients are referred through agencies such as Social Services, Probation Service, Youth Offending Team, Benefits Agency, Luton Borough Council’s Homeless Department 01582 415651
NOAH has been working for more than 30 years to provide hope and support for people who are struggling and have nowhere else to turn. 01582 728416
- Welfare, Advice and Outreach. Welfare services are at the heart of NOAH. Read more >>
- Social Enterprise. Social Enterprise activities raise money and provide support and work experience to many NOAH service users. Read more >>
- Work Experience and Skills Training. Read more >>
Luton Law Center on Housing and Homelessness
Are you in need of legal advise on your current living situation for example on Rent/mortgage arrears; Eviction/repossession including illegal evictions; Harassment from landlords then Luton Law Center is the place to go. You can contact them on 01582 481 000 to understand if you qualify for Legal Aid and how they can help you.
Private rented housing is of course an option but often an expensive one. You have to qualify financially and prove you can pay the rent and therefore already have an income. Also a deposit is required which is usually 1 month in advance. Due to these costs rented accommodation is often not an option for someone who has been released from prison. If renting your own accommodation is achievable, once you have moved in, you can apply for housing benefits to help you pay for the rent.
Your local council, Luton
To qualify for a long term accommodation from the council, the following criteria have to be met:
- You are indeed homeless. Unfortunately many councils don’t classify you as homeless if you lost your home because you went to prison after committing a crime. This kind of homelessness is often classified as ‘intentional’. Councils do however, provide support around developing a personal housing plan and engaging with organisations that can help you with an accommodation. Councils are in a position to offer you temporary accommodation until they review your application and make a plan of action.
- If you are eligible. Councils look at your immigration status and if you are normally residing in the UK.
- If you are in priority need. Some people, such as pregnant women and those with dependent children, are automatically in priority need. If you live with a person that is pregnant; you are 16 or 17 years of age; homeless as a results of flood, fire or other disasters; are aged 18 to 20 and leaving care; have a mental illness or physical disability, you are considered vulnerable. Coming out of prison does not automatically make you vulnerable, though it can be a factor. The council will only decide you are vulnerable if it agrees you are significantly more at risk when homeless than an ‘ordinary person’ would be.
Luton Council Homelessness Service
Luton Council Homelessness Service will asses your eligibility for a long term accomodation. If you prove not to be eligible, they will support you with a personal housing plan or help to place you in a temporary accommodation.
Email Housing Solutions Team for an appointment email@example.com or call Tel: 01582 510371