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Round up of resources for the resettlement of women prisoners

Posted on 12/04/21

Women prisoners may face extra challenges while going through the homelessness assistance system. These resources improve the understanding of their complex needs and enable effective help:

Tailored resources

General homelessness resources

Where to refer?


Tailored resources

Safe Homes for Women Leaving Prison

A report exploring the reasons for lack of secure housing for women on their release from prison. Also provides recommendations and showcases good practice.

Better Outcomes for Women Offenders

This document summarises evidence of what works in reducing reoffending and keeping women safe. Resettlement and achieving stable housing are listed as one of the priority targets.

Female Offender Strategy

The Strategy was launched in 2018 to improve outcomes for female offenders and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending.

Lord Farmer’s review

This review highlights the importance of appropriate housing and strengthening family relationships to prevent reoffending.

Women’s Policy Framework

The framework provides gender specific guidance for prison and probation staff on how to manage and support women in custody and the community, including the duty to refer under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Guide to housing options for offenders  

The National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) advises on positive steps and good practice in preventing homelessness and improving access to housing for offenders and their families.

Vulnerability & Priority Need guide

NHAS guide for frontline advisers supporting single people who make a homeless application and face issues around priority need.

Guide to the duty to refer

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) guide for public authorities outlines the procedures for referring someone to a local authority.

Prison release protocol

This guidance complements the duty to refer guidance and provides practical suggestions on developing and implementing prison release protocols.

Duty to refer guidance for prison and probation staff 

Government guidance detailing duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act to reduce homelessness and support rehabilitation. Includes flowcharts and step-by-step guide.

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General homelessness resources

Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities advises on how local authorities should exercise their homelessness functions. Guidance on providing homelessness services to people with an offending history is in chapter 23.

Shelter Legal provides an online guide to housing law.

Shelter provides online advice and information for members of the public.

NHAS specialist advisers support with housing, homelessness, housing debt and benefits queries. The advisers assist professionals with questions via webchat or over the telephone on 0300 330 0517, available Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm.

Please note: staff working in prisons are prohibited from using webchat services whilst within the prison.

NHAS mailing list allows members to stay up to date with legal updates, upcoming training and events.

NHAS training offers a variety of continuously updated free webinars, bitesize e-learning courses, and face to face courses. Current topics relevant for the resettlement of women prisoners include:

  • duty to refer
  • understanding homelessness vulnerability
  • understanding homelessness and housing – local authority duties
  • domestic abuse and complex needs (introductory)

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Where to refer?

Women in Prison supports women affected by the criminal justice system and campaigns to end the harm caused to women and their families by imprisonment.

Nacro helps people in custody or with an offending history to reintegrate into society, helping with housing, mental health and substance misuse issues.

Hibiscus supports foreign nationals, and black, minority ethnic and refugee groups serving a custodial sentence or released into the community.

No Recourse to Public Funds Network safeguards the welfare of destitute families, adults and care leavers who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status. 

Housing First is a housing and support approach which gives people a stable home from which to rebuild their lives and provides intensive, person-centred, and holistic support.

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