How we can help

If you are homeless or worried you may lose your home, the earlier you tell us the better chance we have of being able to help you.

We have a legal duty to prevent and relieve homelessness. This means we must work with you to do all we can to prevent you from losing your home. If that's not possible, we must help you to look for other housing.

We can help you by: 

  • giving you free, impartial and confidential advice
  • talking to you about possible solutions to your housing needs
  • trying to support you to stay in your own home 
  • supporting you to find other housing
  • pointing you to other services that could help you
  • advocating on your behalf

If we think you are in danger, we have a safeguarding duty to refer you to children's services or adult social care to help keep you safe.

Get advice from us

You can contact us about your situation and find out how we can help you before you submit a homelessness application.

Get independent advice

You can get help and advice outside of the council from:

Get help when we are closed

You can call our out of hours service if we are closed and you have nowhere to stay.

Tenancy Sustainment Team

The Tenancy Sustainment Team support applicants who are at risk of homelessness or who need general advice and guidance around their housing needs. The Team also work with Landlords to promote long lasting tenancies should there be tenancy related issues. The tenancy sustainment officers can help with:

  • Welfare Benefit applications- helping you access the right benefits
  • resolving rent arrears
  • searching for alternate private rented accommodation
  • applying for grants
  • budgeting support so you can make regular payments
  • assessing your income and expenditure to help maximise your income
  • providing realistic housing options – private rented market and social housing
  • referrals to agencies that can help further
  • sourcing apprenticeships, volunteering, education and employment
  • overcoming barriers to making an application to the housing register
  • work alongside other agencies to support you

Contact the tenancy sustainment team.

Your housing officer or housing assessors can refer you to this in-house team.

Apply to us for help

Apply online

You will need to create an account on the Homechoice website to make a homelessness application. 

Once you've created your account, you'll need to complete your profile with your:

  • name
  • national insurance number
  • date of birth
  • phone number
  • email address

Create an account

Watch our video on how to create an account.

Apply over the phone

If you can't apply online, you can call us on 01305 221000 to make a homelessness application.

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we decide if you are legally homeless or at risk of homelessness and eligible for help. We will let you know our decision in writing. We have 56 days to tell you our decision and must let you know if we need longer.

If you are eligible for help, we will do a homelessness assessment and give you a personal housing plan.

Homelessness assessment

We will contact you to do a homelessness assessment. This is  we can understand your situation and give you the best advice for your housing and support needs. We usually do the assessment over the phone, but we can arrange it in person if we need to.

We may need to talk to other people, like your landlord or your family, depending on your circumstances.

We will ask you to provide relevant documents, including:

  • proof of ID, such as passport or driving licence
  • bank statements from any accounts you have, to help work out what you can afford to pay for housing
  • mortgage statement, if you own your own home and are in mortgage arrears
  • proof of your immigration status, such as a Home Office document or visa, if you are a non UK resident
  • proof of child benefit, if you have children
  • a MATB1 form, if you are pregnant
  • a copy of your tenancy agreement, if you are renting, and any documents about potential eviction, such as a notice or court document

Personal housing plan

Your personal housing plan takes your household’s circumstances and needs into account.

It has steps that we each agree to stop you from becoming homeless, or to help you find somewhere else to live.

Actions could include:

  • you looking for a new rented property if you are losing yours
  • us talking to your landlord to see if we can help reach a solution that means they are happy for you to stay

We can review the plan if things change. You can challenge any steps that you do not agree with.

Emergency and longer term housing

Emergency accommodation

We may provide you with emergency accommodation if you:

Emergency accommodation could be a bed and breakfast or another type of accommodation. Because of the demand for emergency accommodation, we may ask you to move at short notice.

When you are in emergency accommodation, you must:

  • sign a licence agreement before you move in (you could be asked to leave if you break the terms of the agreement)
  • pay a small weekly 'top up' fee
  • keep looking for your own housing

If you haven't found anywhere suitable to live after 56 days, we must give you a decision on your homelessness application.

Our decision could mean we must provide you with longer term housing until you find a settled home. If we decide that you are not eligible for help, we will explain why and how we made our decision. You have the right to challenge our decision.

Longer term housing

We must provide you with longer term housing if you:

This is called the main housing duty.

We will provide longer term housing until you find a settled home. A settled home could be private rented accommodation that is available for at least 12 months, or social or affordable housing.

We won't provide longer term housing if your circumstances change so that you are no longer eligible for help, or you refuse an offer of suitable housing.

Once we find you suitable housing

We will make you one offer of suitable social housing or private rented housing. Whether you accept or refuse our offer, we no longer have a duty to provide you with housing. 

You must respond to our offer within 48 hours. If you don't, we will treat it as you refusing the offer.

It is best to accept the offer of housing even if you are not happy with it. You can then ask us to review whether it is suitable.

Costs you need to cover

You will need to cover the costs of moving.

Most social housing landlords we work with request one month's rent in advance before you move in. This is the same for private rented housing. You should plan ahead and set aside money for this and other moving costs. 

You could be eligible for financial help towards private rented housing.

Ask us to review our decision

If you are unhappy with our decision, you can request a review. You need to tell us within 21 days of our decision. You should explain why you disagree with our decision and give information to help us review it.

Email your request to: 

You can also ask your housing officer for a review of the decision.

We have a reviewing officer who will look at your case and won't have been involved in making the original decision.

Citizens Advice and Shelter can help you with submitting a review or advocating on your behalf.