Working in partnership with Citizens Advice and Shelter, we are joining together to offer help and support to those struggling with their housing costs. All three charities offer housing advice and support, and it doesn’t matter where you start your journey because we know that we are stronger working together to help you.

We all want you to be able to stay in your home, but we know that, at times, paying your rent or mortgage can be really challenging, especially at the moment, with all the other costs of living impacting on the money you have available.

Your housing costs are a priority payment, and we want to make sure that they are manageable for you and where they are not, help you look at what the options are available to you.

The important thing is to get help as early as possible.

Entitlement to benefits

It may be that you are entitled to additional financial help from the DWP. It is helpful to complete a benefit calculator prior to applying for welfare benefits to check what entitlement you may have. 

Dorset Council assess claimants for a range of benefits such as

  • Council Tax Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Emergency Local Assistance Fund

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice have a large range of advisors that can support you with different issues. They also employ specialist debt, housing and welfare advisors who may be able to help you navigate the difficult processes of addressing debts or making benefit claims. 

For support visit the Citizens Advice website or telephone 0800 144 8848.

Income Maximisation Worker - Citizens Advice

Dorset Council’s Housing Options Team have a dedicated worker within Citizens Advice who you can self-refer to. They can support you with:

  • budgeting advice
  • applying for benefits (if eligible)
  • debt relief referrals
  • benefit entitlement assessment
  • maximisation of income
  • applying for grants (if eligible)
  • budget work

You can self-refer for this support by emailing explaining what you feel you need support with. The Income Maximisation Worker will then email you back to start an assessment.

Housing Advice at Dorset Council

You can speak to our Housing Options Team who can give you advice and signposting support to navigate your way through the difficulties you are facing. We have a team of Tenancy Sustainment Officers who will be able to talk with you about the housing difficulties you are facing and help you look to find the best solution possible. If you are faced with homelessness or at risk of losing your home, get in touch with us as soon as possible. 

You can ring us on 01305 221000 or email

Discretionary Housing Payments

The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme is designed to give financial support in the short-term to give you time to sort out your financial or housing circumstances, particularly if you are trying to find alternative affordable accommodation. It is not intended to be a long-term solution to replace entitlement restrictions set out within the Housing Benefit legislation (or Universal Credit).


Shelter provide free housing advice to those in need. You can self-refer if:

  • you are homeless
  • have nowhere to stay tonight
  • are worried about losing you home
  • are at risk of harm or abuse in your home

by calling their emergency national helpline on 0808 8004444 during opening hours.

You can also use their online advice to help with your housing rights and the next steps to take in your situation. 

Use their webchat function if you need help to take the next steps, or prefer not to call. 

Shelter’s Legal Aid Legal Service

Shelter’s legal team can help you if you are eligible for Legal Aid, for example, if you need to go to court about a housing problem or to challenge a decision.

You need to make an appointment To speak to their legal team. To make an appointment with the legal team based in Bournemouth, please call 0344 515 1777 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. This number is for new legal appointments only.