Housing authorities have a duty to provide advice and information about homelessness, including for the following groups.
People released from prison
You can get housing advice if you are on remand, serving a sentence or are being released. It is very important to be aware that the Council may not be able to offer you accommodation on your release from prison.
You may need to use emergency accommodation such as a hostel, night shelter or bed and breakfast accommodation if you have nowhere to go following your release. Hostels provide temporary accommodation. Some are direct access, which means you don't need a referral from an agency to use them. Search the Homeless England directory to find hostels, accommodation and day centers in your area.
You may wish to see advice from Nacro who provide services to ex-offenders. They can be contacted on 0300 123 1999.
We strongly advise you to speak to us over the telephone prior to being released from custody for an assessment. This will help you to be better informed about your housing options upon release. Please liaise with your Offender Manager about facilitating a telephone call between Monday to Thursday 08.30am-5pm and Friday 08.30am-4.30pm.
Surrey County Council's Children's Social Services will help care leavers to prepare for becoming an adult and developing their independence.
Move-on accommodation can be secured in many forms such as supported accommodation, shared houses, studios or flats, private renting, social renting, or student accommodation if you intend to go on to University. It's important that you are proactively planning before any support you receive from Social Services comes to end.
You can contact Surrey County Council on 0300 470 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Members of the regular armed forces
The majority of Armed Forces veterans make a smooth transition from military to civilian life, but some slip through the net and end up homeless but solutions are available. The #NoHomelessVeterans campaign aims to reduce homelessness among veterans as close to zero as possible. By working together, Local Authorities, military charities and housing organisations can ensure homeless veterans are identified as ex-Forces at their point of need and signposted quickly and effectively to the enhanced support available to them. Visit nohomelessveterans.org.uk for more information.
There are a number of services as well as the Council that can support to meet the needs of former members of the forces:
The Veterans' Housing Advice national helpline are open seven days a week 8am to 8pm and can be contacted on 0808 801 0880. They can help you with:
- Finding temporary accommodation with support
- Finding settled accommodation, with or without support
- Floating support to help you settle in accommodation
Haig Housing - own over 1,500 properties for ex-services personnel across 50 locations in the UK. You can visit their website or call 020 8685 5777.
Victims of domestic abuse
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there is help and support available to you. This is not something you should have to go through alone.
You could be experiencing physical, sexual abuse or emotional abuse, including isolation, psychological games or harassment. Either way, recognising that you are a victim of domestic abuse is the first step.
Victims of domestic abuse are encouraged to report the incident to their local police on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.
Get help and advice
Your Sanctuary is a Surrey domestic abuse charity with a 24-hour helpline.
The Surrey Against Domestic Abuse website has more information on how to get help and support.
Male victims of domestic abuse can also contact Men's Aid.
Stepping Up is a service delivered by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company on behalf of the Surrey Against Domestic Abuse Partnership (Sada) for anyone in Surrey who wants to change the way they behave towards their partner. It consists of a series of tailor-made support sessions that will help individuals to understand more about why they behave the way they do and help them change.
The Silent Solution system is a system for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger and escalation of harm if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency. When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to audibly signal to the operator, the call will be forwarded to an operating system. If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency. Click here to find out more.
'In danger but can't speak? The Make Yourself Heard initiative by the IOPC is a way for victims to communicate with our Contact Centre Handlers if they aren't able to speak.
If you dial 999 but cannot speak, the Contact Centre handler will ask you questions you can respond to by tapping your phone or coughing. If prompted, the handler will ask you to press 55 which informs the police that this is a genuine emergency. The police will then be able to carry out urgent enquiries to respond. For more information click here: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/news/national-campaign-raise-awareness-silent-solution-system
Leaving Hospital & People Suffering from a mental illness or impairment
Hospitals are required to refer people to the local council, if they believe they are threatened with homelessness - provided the patient gives consent. If you apply to the council within 56 days of your expected discharge (or you agree to the hospital referring you), the council has a duty to assess your housing needs and draw up a Personalised Housing Plan (PHP). The PHP will list the reasonable steps that both you and the council must take, in order to help you resolve your housing problem. If you have a support worker, you can give permission for your support worker to be involved in discussing this plan. The earlier this plan is agreed and put in practice, the better - as this will give more opportunity for all avenues to be explored.
Dealing with debts
If you have not already done so, you can complete a budget calculator (online money advice tool). You can use this in later negotiations with people you owe money to, if necessary. Doing this may help you to work out where you can cut down your non-essential spending.
If you'd like some advice about managing your money and ways of making it go further visit the Money Advice Service or Runnymede Citizens Advice or Christian Against Poverty.