Shelter: Resettlement Support Outside Prison

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One Shelter worker shares a case study detailing the dilemma that one of their clients faced upon leaving prison and how they helped them overcome a potentially challenging situation.

A service user was asked by Responsible Officer to attend a Shelter drop in to obtain some photo ID, Citizenship Card.  During the session the service user discussed her recent circumstances and explained that she had to flee her local connection area due to gang violence/threats approximately 5 weeks ago and was staying with a friend however the circumstances were not ideal.  Service user had been free from substances for a sustained period of time and her friend is using substances and is encouraging her to use too.  Spoke to Responsible Officer and agreed a follow up appointment the following day to complete full initial needs assessment. 

The needs assessment was booked the following day.  Service user disclosed financial and psychological abuse from her friend and also provided further details of the gang related violence that she was fleeing.  Responsible Officer was fully aware of the transfer from the last area and the reasoning behind this.  Service user presented as very low and disclosed diagnosis of PTSD, Clinical Depression and anorexia nervosa.  Service user only had the clothes she was standing in and a rucksack with a few essentials.  Discussed homeless application with a request for interim accommodation from that evening given the Domestic Violence.

Actions Taken:

  • Contacted Homeless Team – homeless papers taken over the phone
  • Interim accommodation secured from that evening.  Responsible Officer agreed to provide transport to the accommodation as this was out of area and it was getting late.
  • Food parcel arranged.
  • Asked Responsible Officer to put in application to Greggs trust for clothing.
  • Discussed all housing options and service user wanted supported accommodation initially.  Worked with the homeless team to get referrals to Changing Lives accommodation.
  • Maintained contact with Responsible Officer, service user and homeless team to ensure move from interim accommodation to supported accommodation.


Vulnerable service user removed from a controlling environment where she was being financially exploited and psychologically abused.  Client was provided with food on a short term basis once it was established that there were cooking facilities at the interim accommodation.  Greggs application was submitted and approved and client was taken on a supervised spend to buy clothing.  Transport arranged and payment agreed by Northumberland Homeless Team to transport client from interim accommodation to supported accommodation for interview.  When interview was postponed for three days due to an incident at the scheme interim accommodation extended and explained to service user.  Service user moved into supported accommodation, female only landing, with a view to moving into a female only supported shared house with Changing Lives when a space becomes available. 


Service user stated that she felt safe.  Her mental wellbeing had improved because she was able to sleep ‘for the first time in a long time’ and client also reported that she was eating.  Service user felt that her decision to leave previous area was now the right one because she received the right support.  She is now in a safe and stable environment and able to focus on the future.  Service user would like to volunteer and gain employment in the future to support those who are involved or fleeing gang violence.  Service user completed a feedback form and described her experience as a positive one.  Comments on the feedback form ‘I am so grateful for all the help and support I have received in a short space of time.’  The service user has now finished her order but has ongoing support from Changing Lives.