As a mentor to male offenders upon release from HMP I would estimate that out of every 10 who come to us 9 need help and support with accommodation. Some rather urgently. In the past we have worked alongside individuals who have been released at 2pm on New years eve with no accommodation – not the best situation to find yourself in!
When we find ourselves working alongside an individual who is released with no conditions, probation officer, curfew or in many cases a place to stay, our first port of call is to head down to the local housing office. In the majority of cases temporary accommodation, usually in a hostel, is found for the individual which gives them a roof over their head and time for us to support them in applying for more secure and appropriate accommodation. In some cases bed and breakfast is provided for the individual usually on a night by night basis and for a very short period of time.
The majority of individuals who we work with come out of prison and go straight into an approved premises which are approved under section 13 of the Offender Management Act. NAPA is the National Approved Premises Association and these premises were formally known as bail hostels (and often still are!). They provide accommodation and are managed, in most instances by probation, but in some cases by voluntary organisations. They enable, in most cases, 24 hour surveillance of those living within the premises and aim to aid in the reduction of further offending behaviour from individuals residing there and helping in the protection of the public. Usually support is provided through key workers and outside agencies whilst living in the premises which supports individuals to move on and secure further accommodation when the time is right.
Shelter, Crisis and the Citizens Advice Bureau are charities which we use in all other circumstances.
Below I have listed some useful websites: