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F15/588

Homelessness applications

Request Description

I am seeking the following information about homelessness support and making homelessness applications at your council.

Could you please send me the following information:

1) Details of any local connection requirements for people wishing to make a homelessness application to your council.

2) Details of homelessness prevention funds or financial assistance in your borough.

3) Details of specific homelessness intervention and prevention support services offered by your borough.

4) Details of deposit/rent support schemes or assistance that your borough offers for people who need help securing a tenancy

5) Details of any liaison services that your borough provides between prospective LHA tenants and private sector landlords, or links to council websites that supply that service.

6) Details of contact information that people can use to contact your council to make a homelessness application.

Please include:

- A relevant contact email address
- A relevant contact phone number
- Address details for offices where people can make a homelessness application in person.
- Contact details for Housing Duty Manager/out of hours assistance for people seeking homelessness support out of hours

Request Date25 August 2015
Requested byIndividual
Released Date  

 30 September 2015      

Response

1. The council adheres to the statutory definition of local connection and also case law.  The answer can be very detailed but in summary the main reasons are: if the applicant has lived in the area for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years, the applicant has close family who have lived in the area for at least five years, if the applicant works in the area.

2. The Council has been awarded a grant by the government since 2003 to prevent homelessness.  In 2015/16 this grant was approximately £50,000.  The council uses this money to prevent homelessness by the provision of small awards/loans to pay off rent arrears, provision of goods and services to assist securing or sustaining accommodation and to provide rent in advance or deposits to secure accommodation in the private sector.  The Council works with the Herts Credit Union on the provision of loans, as we have provided funds to award and administer loans.

3. See 2 above.  In addition the council funds a Debt Advice worker from the CAB to work within the housing options service 2 days a week to provide advice to maximise income and debt advice.   The council also part funds Herts Young Homeless to go into secondary school as part of the Personal, health and Social agenda to discuss what it means to be homeless.

4. See 2 above.  Also attached is the information sheet provided to prospective applicants.

5.  The Council does not provide or promote links.  The Housing Options Team administer the rent/deposit scheme and contact landlords that the prospective tenant has found who is willing to offer a tenancy but who require funds for the deposit/rent advance.  Some landlords contact the council directly if they have a vacancy but this is rare.  We do not promote any one landlord/letting agent as private sector landlords who are willing to consider LHA applicants are rare. 

6. The main switch board number of 01279 655261 ask for Housing options

Email address  housingoptions@eastherts.gov.uk

 Applicants can make a presentation at our Hertford Office : Wallfields, Pegs Lane,Hertford SG13 8EQ or our Bishop's Stortford office:  The Council Offices, Charringtons House, The Causeway,Bishop's Stortford CM23 2ER. 

Out of hours assistance is via our main switchboard number which automatically directs to an out of hours service, provided by specialist provider, that is available  outside of office hours, bank holidays and weekends   

Refused

                                                                

Refusal