Are you homeless or worried about becoming homeless?
You don't have to be sleeping on the streets or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless. To see examples of being homeless or being threatened with homelessness, go to the Are you homeless? page
We have a duty to prevent or relieve homelessness to all households who are homeless or within 56 days of becoming homeless. We make every effort to prevent or relieve homelessness after taking an application before we make a final decision on the application.
We will try to prevent or relieve homelessness before making a decision on whether you are owed a duty at the end of the relief stage, if the homelessness has not been resolved. We will continue to provide customers with temporary accommodation where applicable while we seek alternative solutions to your housing problems.
How can I contact the council about being homeless?
If you are homeless now, or in danger of losing your accommodation, contact the Housing Options team on:
- Tel - 01900 702660
- Email - Homelessness1@cumberland.gov.uk
- To contact us out of office hours call 0300 373 3730
We may be able to advise you over the telephone. However, if the situation requires more detailed advice you may need an appointment to see a Housing Options Officer.
We have documents available to download which may be useful to people having difficulty with homelessness in certain circumstances. To read and download these documents, go to the Homelessness and Homelessness Prevention documents page.
Duty to Refer and Self-referral
All public authorities have - from October 1, 2018 - a 'Duty to Refer' cases of homelessness, or threatened with homelessness, to a local housing authority. You may also refer yourself to the local housing authority. For more information, go to the Duty to Refer page.
What can we do to help?
- We can assess your current housing situation and work out what your needs are
- If you are worried that you might become homeless, we can give you advice on the next steps to take
- We can help you develop a housing plan so you can work towards finding a permanent home
Our aim to help you stay in your accommodation and we will be happy to contact your landlord or mortgage provider to negotiate on your behalf. There are a range of homelessness prevention measures that we can use to help you if you are in danger of losing your accommodation:
- Homelessness Prevention Fund
- Bond Guarantees
- Referrals for support
- Signposting to other relevant agencies
- Emergency accommodation
- We may be able to help with finances
- We can help with budgeting and managing your money
- Help with working with your landlord
If you have nowhere to stay tonight you may be eligible for emergency accommodation but this will depend on your personal circumstances. The council does not have a duty to provide emergency accommodation to everyone who is homeless and you will need to contact the Housing Options Service for an assessment to see if you meet the criteria.
If it is not possible to prevent you from becoming homeless you may wish to make a full homeless application.
There are five tests that the law requires all councils to apply to a homeless application in order to determine what duty, if any, may be owed to you:
- Are you eligible for assistance?
- Are you actually homeless, or are going to be within the next 56 days?
- Do you have a priority need for accommodation?
- Are you intentionally homeless?
- Do you have a local connection to the Allerdale area?
Details of each of the five criteria are below:
The rules about who qualifies as being eligible for assistance are complicated but generally you will not be eligible for assistance from the Housing Options Service if:
- You are from abroad and are subject to immigration control.
- You are from abroad and are not habitually resident in the UK.
- You are a British citizen but you have not been habitually resident in the UK for a number of years.
If you are unsure of your eligibility please contact the Housing Options Section. We will ask you to provide identification in the form of a passport, driving licence or birth certificate. You will also be asked to provide any documents which you have been issued by the Immigration Service that show your immigration status.
You may be considered to be homeless if any of the following apply to you, either now or in the next 28 days:
- You no longer have a legal right to stay in your home.
- You have somewhere to live but you cannot gain entry to it.
- You have fled your home through fear of violence.
- You and your family have nowhere that you can stay together.
- Your home is a caravan or boat and you have nowhere to legally place it and live in it.
- There may be other situations that apply to you which are not listed above. Each applicant will have their individual circumstances taken into account on application.
You may be considered to have a priority need if you:
- Are homeless because of an emergency (e.g. flood, fire).
- Have dependent children who normally reside with you.
- Are pregnant (certificate of confinement will be required).
- Are aged 16/17 years old and are not considered as a ‘Child in Need’ by Social Services.
- Are aged between 18 and 20 and have formerly been in ‘Care’.
- You may also have a priority need under the legislation if you are considered to be ‘vulnerable’. To determine if you are vulnerable we may request information from other agencies – including supporting letters.
To be provided with temporary accommodation you must not only be homeless but must also be deemed to have a priority need.
The Council will not have a duty to provide housing for you if you are found to be intentionally homeless. You may be found to be intentionally homeless if you have deliberately done something, or failed to do something, which has caused you to become homeless. For example, if you lose your home because you did not pay your rent or mortgage despite being able to afford to do so.
If you are found to be intentionally homeless, we will give you advice and assistance to help you find somewhere else to live.
You will be considered to have a local connection with the Allerdale area if:
- You have lived in the Allerdale area for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years.
- You have close relatives, who you have a genuine connection with, who have lived in the Allerdale area for the last five years.
- You are employed in the Allerdale area.
All five tests will require enquiries by the Housing Options Officers to verify what you have told us. This may require contact with your family, your doctor, social worker or other support worker, the Police, other Government agency or department, or any other relevant source of information that is needed to determine the council’s duty.
What happens next?
The council no longer has any housing stock and therefore, in order to satisfy the re-housing duty that may be owed to a person who has qualified for assistance, we have partnered with the housing associations who have houses in the Allerdale area in an internet based system called Cumbria Choice and another housing association called Westfield Housing.
If you have made a full homeless application and, following the Housing Options Officers' enquiries, you are accepted for the full re-housing duty you will be nominated as priority homeless to Cumbria Choice and to Westfield Housing. You will be given the highest banding with these housing associations and should be re-housed via this nomination. Please ensure that you are registered with these housing associations. See the information below on how to register.
If you are accepted
If you are accepted for the full re-housing duty you will be provided with temporary accommodation, if you have nowhere else to stay, until either you have been re-housed or the Council otherwise discharges its duty towards you.
For more information about how Cumbria Choice works, visit the Cumbria Choice website .
Westfield Housing Association is not part of Cumbria Choice but also has properties in Workington and surrounding areas. You will need to print a paper copy of its application and return to the address on the application. You can download the paper application below.
You may also want to consider private sector housing as not everyone can be re-housed with the housing associations. We do not have an accredited landlord’s scheme, but we do provide a list of landlords who allow us to advertise their properties and this form can be downloaded here. Please note that this is not a list of vacancies.
Homeless and prevention team contact details:
Joint Protocol for Homeless Young People in Cumbria
We have signed up to the Cumbria-wide Joint Protocol for Homeless Young People in Cumbria.
The Rising Cost of Living and Renting a Home in Allerdale
The rising cost of living is a major concern to most households – inflation rates, utility bills, food and fuel costs are all rising at an alarming rate, but what does this mean for renters in Allerdale?
Renting a home in the private sector in Allerdale is still affordable for most households but due to recent price hikes in the cost of living, rented property prices are risings slightly and there may be fewer available. In addition, the social housing allocations policy has had a change which means that you can only actively apply for housing with Cumbria Choice if you have an urgent or statutory housing need – this may further exasperate the private housing market.
Below is some advice for renters:
Your rent should always be your first priority as it secures the basic need of a roof over your head. The first step you should take is to speak to your landlord, ask if the rent can be lowered, if this is not an option you could speak to Citizens Advice Bureau about your outgoings, dealing with debt and budgeting. If there are no other solutions, you should call your local Housing Options Team at the Council to see if they can secure you more affordable accommodation.
Again, your mortgage should be your priority to secure your home and other bills should be considered as less important. Mortgage providers should always be willing to help with affordability issues, contact your mortgage provider and discuss whether there are any options to reduce your mortgage payments, have a mortgage holiday or change your mortgage for a longer term. Get advice from your bank or Citizens Advice Bureau about mortgages on offer and whether you can change your mortgage. You also may want to consider downsizing or moving to a more affordable area.
Since 2018, local authorities prioritises preventing homelessness and can take a homeless application up to 56 days of you becoming homeless. As soon as you receive notice from your landlord that they require you to leave, contact your local Housing Options Team. Similarly, as soon as you start accruing rent or mortgage arrears, contact your local team and whilst they may not take a homeless application, they can give advice and assistance to help you deal with your related housing issues.
Local authorities have teams of Environmental Health Officers who can assist with disrepair issues and advise both you and your landlord of the legal requirements for the standards a home should meet.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until you have to leave, contact the Allerdale Housing Options team on 01900 706220, they will assist and inform you of you legal rights as a tenant and either attempt to prevent you from becoming homeless or assist you into alternative accommodation.