Ex-prisoners to be given rent benefit

    The Department for Work and Pensions is planning to change housing
    benefit regulations from October to help prisoners in their
    resettlement.

    Under the proposals, a tenant sent to jail may be able to claim
    benefit for up to four weeks when they are liable to pay a landlord
    for the notice period.

    “This is relevant to the rehabilitation of prisoners who are
    sentenced to more than 13 weeks, as rent arrears can prevent a
    prisoner from being re-housed on release,” said the Home Office’s
    action plan for reducing reoffending published this week.

    The plan, which is the government’s response to the Social
    Exclusion Unit’s 2002 report into re-offending, sets out the Home
    Office’s proposals to tackle the issue, working with the National
    Offender Management Service.

    The plan highlights concerns that the discharge grant payment of
    £37 for 18 to 24 year olds and £46.75 for over 25s are
    insufficient for a former prisoner to live on until the first
    benefit payment is made. Concern was expressed about the number of
    former offenders refused crisis loans from the Social Fund.

    For young people, the Youth Justice Board is to set up a
    resettlement steering group to address the issues, including
    education and training, that juvenile offenders face after their
    release.

    – Go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk

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