Are you already homeless and not sure what you need to do next? There are several things the Housing Options Team can do to help you to resolve your housing issues. If you are worried about becoming homeless then get in touch as soon as possible so we can help you to understand your options. If you are homelessness within the next 56 days then you can use our online self-referral form to make a homelessness application.
How do I know if I am eligible to get support from the Local Authority?
We can provide different types of support for different people, however, if you are a person from abroad and unable to make a claim for benefits you may not be eligible for assistance from the council. This is not a general statement and it is always worth making a Homeless Application to find out. Even if you are not eligible for formal assistance, you will be provided with advice about how to reconnect with your country origin or to seek legal advice to gain status in the United Kingdom. We may also decide not to provide formal assistance if you are not homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. The homelessness law covers more than being out on the streets. You will be considered homeless or under threat of homelessness if:
- You have nowhere to live in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
- You are afraid to go home because someone living there has been or may be violent to you or your family.
- You have nowhere you can live together with all your family.
- You do not have the owner's permission to stay, e.g. you are a squatter.
- You have been locked out of your home.
- You have somewhere to stay but it is not reasonable for you to do so, e.g. following violence, threats of violence or harassment.
- Your home is a boat, mobile home or caravan and you have nowhere to put it.
- You have been given Notice to Quit by your landlord.
- You have been taken to Court by your mortgage lender for arrears and the Court has said you must leave.
- You have been living with friends and they have asked you to leave.
Will I get Interim/Temporary Accommodation if I am homeless?
We will, in some cases provide interim accommodation to homeless households. This will only happen if there is a reason to believe the household is homeless, eligible and in priority need. This is a form of emergency accommodation and is provided whilst we investigate what further duties might be owed to you. If you are given interim accommodation it could be a hotel, a Bed & Breakfast or other forms of shared accommodation. We will try to find accommodation in the local area but sometimes we may have to move you away from your preferred area temporarily. Whilst we know this accommodation is not suitable long term, it is designed to safeguard you in an emergency. However, we do commit to ensuring that families with dependent children are not placed in B&B or hotel accommodation for longer than 6 weeks. If we do not think there is a reason to believe you are homeless, eligible and in priority need, they will not place you in interim accommodation. However, we can advise on other emergency options like friends and family.
What does it mean if I am owed the Relief Duty?
Once we have agreed that you are eligible and you are homeless, you will be owed the Relief Duty. This means that we will work closely with you for 56 days to support you to find new accommodation. You will have a full assessment and Personalised Housing Plan, where we will agree on tasks that we can both do to resolve your homelessness problem. Accommodation options could include: 1. Social housing through Home Choice Plus 2. Housing through Wychmove: our social lettings agency service. 3. Supported Accommodation with external providers 4. Housing with family and friends if appropriate
What is priority need?
There are lots of homeless people across the UK. Some people need more help from the Council than others. Households that are considered to need the most help are households in priority need. To be considered to be in priority need, you must fit in to the following criteria:
- Have dependent children living with them
- Are pregnant
- Are a person aged between 16-17 (unless a 'relevant child', or a child in need, owed a duty under s.20 of the Children Act 1989)
- Are under 21, and in care or fostered between the ages of 16-18
- Are 21 or more, and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after or fostered (except for 'relevant students')
- Are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or handicap, or physical disability
- Are vulnerable due to having been a member of Her Majesty's regular naval, military or air forces
- Are vulnerable due to having been in prison
- Are vulnerable as a result of violence from another person, or vulnerable due to another special reason
- Are homeless due to flood, fire or other disaster
What does intentionally homeless mean?
This means that we think you chose to leave a home which you could have stayed in, or that it was your fault that you lost your home, or you unreasonably failed to take up accommodation which was available to you. This would apply if:
- You chose to sell your home when there was no risk of losing it.
- You lost your home because of wilful and persistent refusal to pay rent or mortgage payments.
- You have neglected your affairs having disregarded advice from a qualified person.
- You voluntarily gave up adequate accommodation in this country or abroad without first having found secure accommodation to move into, when it would have been reasonable for you to stay there.
- You have been evicted for anti-social behaviour.
- You have voluntarily resigned from a job with tied accommodation where circumstances indicate it would have been reasonable to continue in the employment.
- You entered into an arrangement causing you to leave accommodation which was otherwise available to you.
- When a homelessness application is made, the officer dealing with your application will have to check to see if you have deliberately done something or deliberately not done something that resulted in you becoming homeless. If you are considered "intentionally homeless", we may only have to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time, possibly 28 days, while you make your own arrangements to find alternative accommodation.