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Homelessness

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness in the next 28 days and you have no suitable accommodation available to you to occupy you should contact the Council's Housing Options Service.

To arrange an interview you should telephone the Council on 01279 655261. They will, if it is appropriate, refer you onto a Homeless Officer who will arrange to carry out a homeless interview.

In an emergency homeless situation, out of office hours, you should contact 01279 655261 and an answer phone message will direct you as to how to contact the emergency out of hours service for housing assistance.

At the homeless interview you will need to complete a homeless application form, which the Homeless Officer will assist you with. If you have a Social Worker, Probation Officer or Advocate who wishes to attend with you, this is fine.

To enable us to try and come to a decision on your homeless application within 33 working days (the Council's target) you need to answer each question as fully as you can and provide any proof requested. Enquiries will usually need to be made from third persons and your consent will be sought for this.

For more information please read our Homeless? Your guide to what we can and can't do [30kb].

Temporary Accommodation

If you are unable to remain living where you are whilst enquiries are carried out and a decision is being made, you may be offered temporary accommodation, which will either be in a Council owned hostel or Bed and Breakfast.

You will need to pay a weekly charge whist occupying the accommodation. You will be advised of the amount before you move into the accommodation.

Temporary accommodation is also offered to applicants where we have accepted a homeless duty but applicants are waiting for an offer of accommodation from a housing association.

The Council's Decision

If the Council, working within the Housing Legislation and the Government's Code of Guidance, decides it has a statutory duty to secure accommodation for you because it has found you to be eligible for assistance, homeless, in priority need, have a local connection and not intentionally homeless, you will be advised in writing in a decision letter. The Council will then seek to assist you to secure suitable accommodation generally via nomination to a Housing Association property, as the Council has no permanent stock of its own. As the Council is dependent on the availability of empty housing association homes it is often difficult to predict how long it will take before a suitable home becomes available.

If the decision is made that the Council does not have a duty to secure accommodation because for instance it says that you are not in a priority need category for accommodation the Council will still help you find alternative accommodation by giving advice and assistance but if you are in temporary accommodation you will be given notice to leave the accommodation.

Review of decision

Applicants can ask for a review of their homeless decision if:

  • We have advised that we do not have a homeless duty to you
  • We have a duty to your household and we have discharged our duty by assisting you to secure accommodation but you believe that the accommodation is not suitable for your households needs.

Reviews are carried out by a more senior officer who was not involved in the original decision making process. To ask for a review of a homeless decision you should contact the Housing Options Service.

For more information please read Homelessness and your right to a review [21kb].

The Homeless and Homeless Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2018

Under the Homelessness Act 2002 all local authorities are required to carry out a homeless review and to develop and publish a strategy based on the review every five years.

Our Strategy for 2013 - 2018 will set out our key aims and priorities in relation to preventing homelessness and ensuring that clients have a range of housing options available to them. The aim is to make the prevention of homelessness a central activity. This means that we need to focus on helping clients to find the best solution to their housing problems before they become homeless:

Homelessness Review and Strategy 2013 - 18 [396kb]

The aims and objectives of the Strategy will be delivered, with our partner agencies, through the Action Plan:

Homeless Strategy Action Plan 2013 - 18 [258kb]

The Strategy is for a five year period but will be reviewed annually.

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