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Homelessness and threatened with homelessness
If you were to become homeless or threatened with homelessness, there will be specific things that this Council may have to do for you and this will depend on your individual circumstances. What is homelessness?
You are homeless if;
- You have no accommodation here, or any other part of the world; or
- You have accommodation and you cannot secure access to it; or
- You have accommodation and you do not have the legal rights to occupy it; or
- You have accommodation and it is not reasonable for you to occupy it (normally because the property is in poor condition, wholly unsuitable for your household, or by occupying it you will be subject to actual or threatened violence, harassment or abuse).
- You are threatened with homelessness within the next 28 days.
What will the Council do if I am homeless?
If your circumstances are that you believe that you are homeless you must contact the Housing Advice Team immediately. You will be allocated a dedicated Housing Advisor who will be your point of contact throughout the homeless process. You should keep in contact with them, provide any information to them that is requested immediately or as soon as you can and notify them of any changes to your circumstances as soon as the change happens.
Your Housing Advisor will seek to confirm whether you are homeless or not. Once it is established that you are homeless, the Housing Advisor will attempt to establish the following:
- Can homeless prevention reinstate you to your accommodation or not?
- Whether you are eligible for assistance (This is mainly concerning your immigration status as certain people from abroad or returning from abroad may not be entitled to any help from Stratford-on-Avon District Council when they are homeless).
- Whether you have a priority need (you will be in priority need if; you are homeless in an emergency, you have dependent children or are pregnant, you are 16 or 17 years of age and not the responsibility of social services, you are a former care leaver and you are aged between 18 and 21.Or if; you are vulnerable due to your mental or physical poor health, you are vulnerable as a result of leaving prison, hospital, care or other institution or you are vulnerable as a result of fleeing actual or threatened domestic violence, other violence, harassment or abuse).
- Whether you are intentionally homeless or not (essentially, whether you did something or failed to do something that resulted in the loss of your accommodation).
- Whether you have a local connection (you will normally have a local connection where you: currently live in the Stratford-on-Avon District and have done for either 6 months from the last 12 months or 3 years from the last 5 years; you have a close family member who has lived within the District for 5 years or more; you have employment in the District; or where there are may be other exceptional circumstances where you acquire a local connection).
Where it is established that you are homeless and you are eligible, and have a priority need, the Council will normally have a duty to provide you with emergency accommodation. Where no other accommodation can be secured, emergency accommodation may be through the use of guesthouses/ bed and breakfasts which could be anywhere in the District and may be outside of the District, subject to availability.
Enquiries will then be made in to the circumstances behind your homelessness and it will be determined whether you became intentionally homeless or not. There are specific timescales that your Housing Advisor will be working towards throughout this process listed within the Housing Advice Team's Service Standards.
Where it is established that you are eligible for assistance, homeless and not intentionally homeless, , have a priority need and also have a local connection to Stratford on Avon District, you will qualify for the main homelessness duty.
Main homelessness duty
The Council will continue to provide temporary accommodation where it is required. If you are in guesthouse/ bed and breakfast accommodation, efforts will be made to move you into self-contained temporary accommodation at the earliest opportunity.
In some situations, a private rented sector tenancy could be offered to you to resolve your homelessness (Private Rented Sector Offer Policy Approved 2015).
At the same time, you will be given Priority band status through Home Choice Plus so that you will be able to place bids on available housing association homes across the District to resolve your homelessness. You will be expected to apply for all properties that are advertised and which are suitable for your household's needs.
Whether you are offered a private rented sector tenancy or a tenancy through Home Choice Plus, you will be expected to accept the offer if it is deemed to be suitable.
By refusing a suitable offer, the main homelessness duty awarded to you will end. This will mean that the Council no longer holds any responsibility to provide accommodation for you.
By accepting the offer of either a private rented sector tenancy or a property through Home Choice Plus, the main homelessness duty awarded to you will end.
Right to request a review
You have the right to request a review of l any decision that Stratford-on-Avon District Council makes in relation to your homeless application if you are not happy with it. For example, if a decision was made that you became intentionally homeless and you disagree, you can request a review.
The general points to follow in requesting a review are as follows:
- You should obtain legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or other legal adviser before requesting a review.
- The request should be made in writing to the Head of Enterprise, Housing and Revenues here at the Council within 21 days of you receiving the decision that you wish to have reviewed.
- You should state your reasons for requesting the review.
- The Council will write to give you the opportunity to provide further information to support the review and will inform you of the date by which the review decision will be made and this should not be longer than 8 weeks from when the request for review was received.
- You can request for the Council to continue to provide temporary accommodation whilst you await the outcome of the review.
- If the decision remains the same following the review, you do have the right to appeal to the County Court on a point of law.
Providing Temporary Accommodation
Currently, temporary accommodation is provided on behalf of the District Council by our partner agency Chapter 1. The units of temporary accommodation are scattered throughout the District. Whilst you are occupying temporary accommodation, any issue in relation to your occupancy including repairs and maintenance and rent collection, will need to be raised by you with Chapter 1 direct.
Protecting your belongings
If you are homeless and in temporary accommodation and you have furniture and belongings that you cannot store in the temporary accommodation, the Council can arrange for storage and removals. Dependent on your circumstances, you may be required to contribute towards the costs of this. Alternatively, you can arrange your own removals and storage.
Limited homeless duty if you are not in priority need or you became intentionally homeless
If you are homeless and the decision is that that you are not in priority need, the Council will give you advice and assistance for you to resolve your housing situation. This could be help in respect of getting you a private rented tenancy, or referring you to supported accommodation or a hostel. You could also be awarded additional priority on Home Choice Plus.
If you are homeless and in priority need, but the Council decides you have become intentionally homeless, the Council will end its provision of temporary accommodation for you. Advice and assistance will be given to secure alternative accommodation. Where you have children, the Council may refer you to Children's Services who may also be able to assist you in resolving your housing situation. Advice and assistance will be offered in respect of getting you a private rented tenancy or getting you into supported accommodation.
Threatened with homelessness
You will be threatened with homelessness if you will be actually homeless within the next 28days. You should still get in contact with the Housing Advice Team as soon as you believe you are threatened with homelessness so that efforts to prevent your homelessness can be made.
The Council's office hours are:
Monday to Wednesday 8.45pm – 5.15pm
Thursday to Friday 8.45pm – 5.00pm
Homeless presentations should be made to Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6HX.
A duty service is provided for those who are immediately homeless.
Otherwise, you can call on 01789 260233, 01789 260844,260845 or 01789 260126 to make an appointment.
Out of hours
If you are homeless in an emergency out of hours, you can call the emergency out of hours number – 01789 267575.