Are you homeless or threatened with homelessness?
All local authorities have a duty to provide free housing advice and have a statutory duty to provide a homelessness service. If your Landlord or Mortgagee is seeking possession of the property you live in and you have no where else to live please contact the Housing Advice Team without delay. We may be able to provide you with advice and assistance that will help prevent you from becoming homeless.
Are you homeless now?
If you have nowhere to stay tonight you can contact the Housing Advice Team during office hours (09:00am to 5pm) for advice. Outside office hours, we only aim to provide a minimal service to ensure we comply with legislation until the next working day. You can contact our out of hours service on 01858 828282 when you will be advised of the telephone number to contact when an Officer will assess whether the authority has a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation.
Will the Council provide me with temporary accommodation?
The law defines who the Council has a duty to assist with re-housing and the Council will follow the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities in determining what duty, if any, is owed to a homeless person.
Generally the Council will assist in organising temporary accommodation where an initial assessment of the homeless person's circumstances indicates that they have a 'priority need' or have an emergency need for accommodation (we are not able to solve your problem by giving you keys to a property, which is often what people expect).
What is priority need?
A person is in 'priority need' if, when homeless, they are less able to fend for themselves than an ordinary homeless person, so that injury or detriment will result when a less vulnerable person would be able to cope without harmful effects. For example priority need would apply to a household with dependent children under the age of 16 or in full time education under the age of 19 years. We would ask you a series of questions that would help us to determine whether the Council has a duty to organise temporary accommodation for you.
What is an emergency?
We consider flood, fire, or other disaster to be an emergency.
What and where is, temporary accommodation?
Temporary accommodation is just that, it is not a permanent home. This could be Hostel Accommodation, or if this is not available, Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Access to this accommodation is very limited within the district and may only be available outside of the district. The Council also has the use of two units of temporary accommodation within the district (for families) and these are allocated to homeless households on a needs basis when they are available.
Will I have to pay for temporary accommodation?
Yes, no accommodation is free. What you have to pay depends upon the type of accommodation you occupy and your level of income. If you are provided with temporary Bed & Breakfast accommodation you will have to pay a contribution each night toward the cost of the accommodation. If you have a low income we will assist you in applying for Housing Benefit toward this cost. If you are not eligible for Housing Benefit you will be expected to pay the full cost of the accommodation provided.
If you are a family occupying self contained accommodation, depending on the type of accommodation you occupy and your level of income, you may be eligible to apply for Housing Benefit which may cover some or all of the cost of the accommodation charge. It is important that you pay your accommodation charges on a regular basis as any arrears you accrue may affect your application for housing.
Are there other organisations that can offer advice and assistance?
Yes, there are a range of organisations that offer advice and assistance, visit https://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index.html or http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice
If you see someone sleeping rough in our district you can report it on the Streetlink website (www.streetlink.org.uk). Streetlink is the national rough sleeping reporting mechanism. The service enables members of the public to quickly connect rough sleepers to local services. You can also report that someone is sleeping rough by telephoning Streetlink on 03005000914. The aim of the service is to reduce rough sleeping and single homelessness.
Streetlink Leaflet - Please note local services are limited and therefore it will not always be possible to find and make contact with those rough sleepers reported.
We carry out a survey of statutory/voluntary agencies and faith groups each year to establish the level of rough sleeping in the district and also send an estimate of rough sleeping to the Department for Communities and Local Government. We are pleased to report that the number of rough sleepers seen in our district throughout the year is very low. We do offer a Housing Advice Service to prevent rough sleeping and in extreme weather conditions, we assist rough sleepers to find accommodation.
How we will use your information:
Once you have made a declaration of homelessness, we will provide you with a personal housing plan identifying the steps you could take to prevent your homelessness, or if you are already homeless we will provide you with a personal housing plan containing actions you need to take to, if possible, relieve your homelessness. We will make our enquiries into your declaration of homelessness in order to decide whether the Council has a statutory duty to assist you in securing settled accommodation.
'If you or someone in your household receives help or advice if you are homeless or likely to become homeless, we will provide advice and assistance to you. As part of providing this service we will share your personal information (including your name and date of birth) with the Department for Communities and Local Government who will use this for research purposes.'
To view a copy of our Homelessness Strategy click here - Homelessness Strategy.