If you are homeless or likely to become homeless within the next 56 days, you need to contact your local council as soon as possible, to look into your situation and provide you with advice and assistance.
Help if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
How much help you get depends on your circumstances and some people may not be eligible for assistance.
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you may contact us to discuss your situation. Our Housing Advice Team can assess your situation, providing initial advice and arrange an appointment with a homelessness prevention officer, or referral to our Homeless Outreach and Support team (HOST), if appropriate.
You will be required to produce documentation, such as your tenancy agreement, proof of income, landlord contact details and a copy of any notice to vacate that you may have received. You will normally be expected to complete and return ato help us understand your situation more thoroughly.
You can contact the Housing Advice Centre by phone 01483 444244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Agency homelessness referrals
Public authorities- please use the Alert Portal to make a referral under the Duty to Refer. Other agencies (such as housing associations) are also encouraged to use this.
About Duty to Refer - please read before referring
Certain public authorities have a legal duty (Housing Act 1996 Pt VII s.213B) to refer (with their consent) someone they consider is homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This must include their name, contact details and reason for referral.
This includes situations where the person to be referred has no accommodation available to them, cannot gain entry to an address or where it is not reasonable for them to continue to occupy a property.
The following public authorities are subject to the Duty to Refer:
- Youth offender institutions
- Secure training centres
- Secure colleges
- Youth offending teams
- Probation services (incl. community rehabilitation companies)
- Jobcentre Plus
- Social service authorities
- NHS A&E & urgent treatment centres
- Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
- Regular armed forces
Before making a referral a public authority must:
a) have consent to do so from the service user
b) allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to and
c) have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral
For homelessness assistance, although anyone has the right to apply to any council as homeless, service users should be encouraged to apply where they have a local connection as there are more likely to be housing options.
A homelessness local connection is normally residence of choice for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years, current employment (except casual work) or where close relatives have lived for at least 5 years. Care leavers have a local connection to the area of the children services authority that owes them leaving care duties. If the children services authority is a county council but not a housing authority, the young person will have a local connection with every housing authority district falling within the area of the children services authority. Where a care leaver is aged under 21 and normally lives in a different area to that of a local authority that owes them leaving care duties, and has done for at least 2 years including some time before they turned 16, the young person will also have a local connection in that area.
Residence in hospital or prison does not constitute a local connection.
Where a person is homeless (rather than threatened with homelessness) and has no local connection, the Council may refer the person to any area where there is a safe local connection.
If you are unsure about local connection criteria or if you wish to informally discuss a case before referring, please contact 01483 444244 or email email@example.com
Are you concerned about street homelessness (rough sleeping)?
We work with an outreach and support service which helps people who are rough sleeping. You can find more about what we do on our Rough sleeping page.
If you're concerned about a rough sleeper or are homeless and require support, please call our team on 01483 302495, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find yourself in a homelessness emergency out of hours, please call 01483 505050 to access our out of hours service.