Homelessness and Homelessness Prevention
How can we help?
This policy applies to anyone who is homeless or about to be made homeless on or after April 3rd 2018. If you were homeless prior to this date the previous policy will apply to your case which can be found here.
The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA 2017) places more emphasis on the assistance each council in England can offer households who have experienced or are about to become homeless.
We have a duty to prevent or relieve homelessness to all households who are homeless or within 56 days of becoming homeless.
From the 3rd of April 2018, we will make every effort to prevent or relieve homelessness after taking an application before they make a final decision on the application.
Applications beyond this date will be opened beyond the current statutory guidance, which is 28 working days, whilst the council tries to help each household in preventing or relieving their homelessness.
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. Allerdale BC will continue to provide customers with temporary accommodation where applicable while they seek alternative solutions to your housing problems.
Our Housing Options service can help you if you are homeless, or if you are likely to lose your home soon, contact details are below.
What we can do
- 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.
Are you experiencing financial difficulty?
Our team might be able to help you in these ways:
- With a one-off payment to assist with housing costs for move-on accommodation.
- A payment towards your rent arrears to stop you being evicted by your landlord.
- Assistance if you have issues because of new benefit changes such as Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax, Benefit Cap or Local Housing allowance.
- With budgeting and managing your money at home.
- With getting a smaller, more financially manageable home.
Do you rent privately?
We can help if you are being harassed or threatened by your landlord, or if you have been locked out of your home, evicted or if the rent is being increased.
Finding a home
We can help you with:
- Your application for social housing to Cumbria Choice and Westfield Housing Association.
- Looking at the housing options available to you, including temporary accommodation or private housing.
- Finding somewhere to stay tonight, in an emergency when you have nowhere else to go.
- You can email us at email@example.com or call 0303 123 1702. You can make an appointment to see us in person and our website - www.allerdale.gov.uk - has much more information should you need it
- Looking for a home: visit www.cumbriachoice.org.uk and complete and return the Westfield Housing Association application form available at www.westfieldha.org.uk.
Below is some information which may be useful to people having difficulty with homelessness in certain circumstances:
General guidance and advice
The new Homelessness Reduction Act increases the requirements for Allerdale Borough Council to help all eligible applicants – rather than just those with a ‘priority need’.
It adds two new duties:
Duty to take steps to prevent homelessness: Allerdale Borough Council will help people at risk of losing suitable accommodation as soon as they are threatened with homelessness within 56 days. This means people should get help upon receipt of a valid notice from their landlord and the Council can help the applicant to either remain in that property (i.e. negotiate with the current landlord) or help to find alternative accommodation.
If the prevention duty fails then the Council has a Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: Allerdale Borough Council will have a further 56 days to help all those who are homeless to secure alternative suitable accommodation. This should mean that eligible households are offered help to find a home, rather than some being turned away
If neither of the above steps work and the household becomes, or remains, homeless, then those who are deemed to be more vulnerable may retain their right to be rehoused.
Are you homeless?
You don't have to be sleeping on the streets or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless. Most people who are homeless are not on the streets. There are many situations where the council must accept you are homeless, and may have a duty to help you with housing.
Examples of being homelessness or being threatened with homelessness:
• You don't have 'a roof over your head' i.e. you are street homeless
• You’re at risk of violence or abuse where you are living. This can be form a partner, ex-partner or family member, or someone in your area. The council will ask you to provide details of the incidents. Evidence is helpful but we will not turn you away if you have not reported the incident(s) to police.
• You're at risk of losing your home
• You can't afford to stay where you are
• Your accommodation is very temporary
• You are staying with friends or 'sofa surfing'
• You've been locked out or illegally evicted
• Your accommodation is in very poor condition
• You can't live together with your partner or close family
• You have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan
If one or more of these apply, you may be eligible for help from the council.
Who the council can help
1. You must normally live in the UK long-term and not be subject to immigration control.
2. You must be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
If you meet these criteria, you can make a homeless application. This means that you are telling the council you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and need their help.
The council will make an appointment for you to be interviewed by a housing officer. This should be the same day if you have nowhere to stay that night. You can bring a support worker or friend with you in to the interview.
At the interview
You need to take the right documents to your interview. The process will be quicker if you bring your ID and notice of eviction or a letter from the person you have been staying with. For more information on the homelessness interview, you can look at the Shelter website in the ‘How to apply as homeless’ section.
If the council says it can help you…
If the council accepts that it has a duty to continue housing you when you become homeless, you'll probably have to stay in temporary accommodation until they find you somewhere more long-term or 'settled'.
If the council says it cannot help you…
You can challenge the council’s decision.
If you think the council's decision is wrong, contact an independent local advice centre like Citizens Advice Bureau as soon as you can.
Other support if you are not eligible
If you are not eligible for housing assistance from the council, you may still be able to access:
• Help from social services when homeless: if you have children or additional needs you may be able to get support from Children’s or Adult Social Care.
• Short-term supported housing.
• Support in finding private rented accommodation.
You can get further advice from:
• Shelter 0808 800 4444 england.shelter.org.uk
• Citizens Advice Bureau 01900 604735 citizensadviceallerdale.org.uk
• Cumbria Law Centre 01228 515129 www.cumbrialawcentre.org.uk
• National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk
• Adult Social Care 0303 303 3249 www.cumbria.gov.uk/healthsocialcare
Allerdale Borough Council’s Housing Options Service
Our Housing Options service can help you with either finding or keeping a safe and suitable home for you and your family. We have a team of housing advisors who will work with you to explore all of your options.
Phone (24 hours): 0303 123 1702 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Particular homeless situations
Homeless when released from prison
If you were recently released from prison, DISC Cumbria Offender Services offer advice and assistance with accommodation, finance, benefits and debt to anyone who is under the supervision of Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company or the National Probation Service. Please speak to your Responsible Officer or Offender Manager if you would like to be referred to this service, as they do not accept self-referrals.
You could also apply to Allerdale Borough Council, who will carry out the homeless and housing advice for housing assistance as a homeless person.
Help from Allerdale Borough Council if you are single and homeless
If you apply to Allerdale Borough Council for housing assistance because you are homeless, we might not necessarily be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation. Our duty from 1st April 2018 is to prevent or relieve homelessness if threatened within 56 days. In some circumstances, the council might decide you are more vulnerable because you have spent long periods of time in prison or on remand.
The fact that you have been in prison does not in itself mean that we have to treat you as being vulnerable and in priority need for accommodation.
The Council’s Housing Options Service may decide that you are intentionally homeless if you were evicted from your previous home because of criminal or antisocial behaviour or because of rent arrears resulting from your time in prison.
If the Council decides you are intentionally homeless, it will only offer you limited help with finding housing. If you are in priority need, you may be offered temporary accommodation for a short period of time so as to assist you to find your own accommodation in the private sector.
Allerdale Borough Council may take the view that you should have known that your criminal activity could have resulted in you being sent to prison, and that this could lead to the loss of your home.
There may be restrictions placed on where you can live. For example, if an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) or bail conditions mean you can't go to a particular area, you may need to seek help from a different council.
Use Shelter's directory or call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 to find services near you. The Shelter directory can be located at shelter.org.uk.
Help finding housing in the private rented sector
You could try to find housing in the private rented sector. Allerdale Borough Council’s Housing Options Service will be able to advise you how to find out what housing is available locally and how to apply for Universal Credit to help you with your housing costs.
You might be able to get help with a deposit through the council’s private rented sector rent / deposit or bond scheme
Apply for a housing association home
As a longer term alternative option, you could also consider applying for a Housing Association home. Please complete the on line housing application at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk and contact Westfield Housing Association for an application form on 01900 602906 or visit www.westfieldha.org.uk.
Help finding housing from probation services
Offenders serving sentences of 12 months or more are released on licence and live in the community supervised by the probation service until the end of their sentence.
If you are released on licence, your probation officer can help you find accommodation, as long as you have spent a continuous period of at least twelve months in custody.
Help with money before you are released from prison
All prisoners are given a discharge grant paid for by the prison when they leave. This is money to help with your costs until your benefits are sorted out.
If a prison housing adviser has found you accommodation for your first night, you may be given a higher discharge grant (about an extra £50), which is paid directly to the accommodation provider.
Once you are re-housed you may also be able to get help from the Cumbria County Council’s Ways to Welfare. Contact them on 01228 221100 for further information.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse includes any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. The abuse can be psychological, physical, social, financial, or emotional.
Domestic abuse can happen between two people who are or were intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
If you are in fear of a partner, ex-partner or member of your family, you might be experiencing domestic abuse. Do they often...
• Call you names and make you feel bad about yourself?
• Make you afraid by threatening you or your children?
• Behave violently towards you?
• Stop you seeing your friends or family?
• Keep you without money?
• Harm you or make you feel you could be seriously harmed?
If the answer to some of these questions is yes, you might be experiencing domestic abuse.
Get help now
You can contact Allerdale Borough Council. Our Housing Options service carry out the homeless and housing advice function, and can signpost onto the specialist Domestic Abuse Support in the area. The service is available to men and women over 16 years of age.
You can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or at www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk if you're a woman experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and to find out what your options are.
If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the Men's Advice Line on
0808 801 0327, or at www.mensadviceline.org.uk.
If you are in a same-sex relationship you can call the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 999 5428 or visit their website at www.galop.org.uk/favicon.
Call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 if you feel in despair and want someone to listen to you and provide emotional support.
Call the police on 999 if:
• your personal safety is threatened
• you are at risk of assault or injury
• in an emergency
Leaving home immediately
If you feel you are at risk of harm there are alternatives you could explore such as the carrying out safety works in your home such as changing locks, fire proof letter boxes and panic rooms. For further information please contact the Housing Options service on 0303 123 1702.
You could stay with friends or relatives while you think about what to do next.
If you're a woman leaving domestic abuse, try to find a place in a women's refuge, the Housing Options service can help you with this.
Take some essentials with you such as a change of clothes, toiletries and any medication you need to take regularly. Try to bring important items such as your passport, bank and credit cards and mobile phone.
Don't make a decision to give up your home permanently until you have spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.
Use Shelter's directory at england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/local_services to find a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice Bureau in your area.
You can apply to our Housing Options service as a homeless person if you can't stay in your home.
Allerdale Borough Council has to give you advice about finding somewhere to live. Some people are entitled to emergency accommodation.
Allerdale Borough Council has a duty to find you somewhere to live. You will be asked to provide details of your situation. You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents. You can take a friend or an adviser with you for support.
We may refer your case to the local Multi Agency Panel to review your situation and to decide if you require any other additional security and support.
For information about Legal Aid contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345.
Contact Cumbria Law Centre on 01228 515129
Help from social services / children’s services
Some people may be entitled to help from the County Council's social services department. Social services might be able to help if you:
• are elderly
• have children living with you
• are under the age of 18
• have left care (or are about to do so)
• are in poor health
• have a physical or learning disability
Social services may be able to help by finding accommodation for you, paying for a deposit or providing financial support.
There are no rules about the kind of help social services have to provide. Find details of help available in your local area.
Refuges for women
If you are women who has to leave home because of domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to the Allerdale Borough Council
Women experiencing domestic abuse may be able to stay in a women's refuge.
Some refuges are specifically for women from certain backgrounds, such as Irish or Asian women.
Staff at refuges can give you advice about your situation.
Contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk for more information about refuges.
Refuges for men
If you are man who has to leave home because of domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to the Allerdale Borough Council
There is limited specialist housing for men experiencing domestic abuse.
Contact a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice to check what help is available.
Use Shelter's directory at england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/local_services to find help in your area.
Help for children and young people
If you or someone else in your family is being hurt at home, you may not be sure what you can do about it. Domestic abuse is not your fault and you won't get into trouble for telling someone about it.
The first thing is to tell someone else about what is happening to you. You can tell a teacher, a neighbour, a friend or a friend's parent.
You can call Childline free on 0800 1111 visit their website at www.childline.org.uk. They won't tell anyone else you are calling unless you are in immediate danger. They can tell you about places where you can get help.
Find out more from thehideout.org.uk about children, young people and domestic abuse and violence.
Get more help
The Housing Options service confirms whatever you discuss with the service will always remain completely confidential
If you are a care leaver you may be able to get housing and other help from Cumbria County Council. The help you get mainly depends on your age.
• Cumbria County Council’s Children’s Services team is responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you turn 18
• If you are over 18 years old Allerdale Borough Council has a duty in conjunction with Social Services to provide housing advice and assistance.
• Housing Options service must offer Housing help for 16 and 17 year old care leavers, however the primary responsibility will sit with Children Services
• you have already left care, and
• you have spent a total of at least 13 weeks in care since the age of 14, and
• part of that time in care was while you were 16 or 17
You will be able to get help including somewhere to live from Allerdale Borough Council Housing Options service. It doesn't matter if those 13 weeks were not all at the same time.
You have different rights if you have spent less than a total of 13 weeks in care, or you want to leave care before your 16th birthday.
Get advice if the Housing Options service is not helping you.
Use Shelter's directory located at england.shelter.org.uk to find your local Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice. This service is free and confidential.
Financial support for 16 or 17 year old care leavers
Most 16 or 17 year old care leavers are not eligible for benefits. The Children’s Services department of Cumbria County Council must help you by:
• providing housing or helping you find and keep your own place
• supporting you financially by paying you enough for your rent, food, bills, travel costs for education and training, clothing, pocket money and childcare if you need it
• giving you any other support you need, such as help with continuing your education, finding work or dealing with personal problems
You can usually only claim benefits if you are a 16 or 17 year old care leaver and you are also a single parent or unable to work because of a disability or illness.
Find out more from Turn2Us about benefit rules for care leavers, visit their website at www.turn2us.org.uk.
Housing help for 18 to 21 year old care leavers
If you are aged 18 to 21, you can get help from both Cumbria County Council’s Children’s services and the Housing Options service. You are automatically classed as being in ‘priority need’ until your 21st birthday, which means that the Housing Options service should help you find a place to live.
If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday.
Children’s services can also help you by providing support and help with training and education.
If you are in full-time further or higher education, Children’s Services must find you somewhere to live during holiday periods if you need it.
Benefits for care leavers over 18
When you turn 18 you are entitled to claim benefits.
You should be able to claim Universal Credit if you need to.
Housing help for 21 years old and above care leavers
Some older care leavers can get accommodation from the Housing Options service if they are in priority need. For example, this may be the case if you:
• are vulnerable as a result of having been in care
• haven't had a stable home since you left care
• have slept on the streets in the past
If you are in full-time further or higher education and you have nowhere to stay outside term time Children’s Services must also find you somewhere to live.
Other support for care leavers aged 18 to 24
As a care leaver you should continue to receive help and advice from Cumbria County Council until your 21st birthday or 25th birthday if you are still in education or training.
Children’s services can help you by providing assistance with education and training until your 25th birthday.
Your personal adviser should still keep in touch and should go over your pathway plan with you to see how you are getting on (there is more information about personal advisers later in this leaflet).
Ask Social Services to help you if you need support to continue with your education or find training or employment. They may be able to help with the cost of living near your college, training centre or workplace.
Help for all care leavers
The Council’s role
The council that last looked after you remains responsible for you even if you move to a different area. The council must continue to give you any help you need, even if you move to another area.
Before you leave care you're given a pathway plan setting out what support you might need to live independently.
Find out more about pathway plans from www.gov.uk/leaving-foster-or-local-authority-care.
You're given a personal adviser whose job it is to make sure that you claim everything you are entitled to. They can help you with application forms for housing, benefits, and education and/or training courses. They should also help you with learning life skills, like how to budget.
Your personal adviser should stay in contact with you and provide ongoing support and help until you turn 21 or until your 25th birthday if you are still studying full time.
Get advice if you don't have a personal adviser. You may be able to get one even if you didn't get one while you were still in care.
Suitable accommodation for young care leavers
Any accommodation provided should be suitable for you. You may get a place in a hostel or a self-contained flat.
It is unlikely, but in some cases you could be offered a place in a children's home or foster care.
Ask your personal adviser to help you if you have problems in your accommodation.
Get advice immediately if you're placed in bed and breakfast accommodation or any other unsuitable accommodation.
Use Shelter's directory at england.shelter.org.uk to find your local Shelter advice centre.
Single room rate
Usually if you are aged below 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum Universal Credit you can get is the same rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house.
But if you've been in care, this doesn't apply until you turn 22. You should be entitled to Universal Credit even if you have just spent one night in care.
There is a maximum amount that you can be paid, which depends on the area you live in.
If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday.
You may be entitled to emergency housing from Allerdale Borough Council if you are in priority need.
Extra help for moving into a new place
If you are a care leaver moving to a new place, you may be entitled to a budgeting loan to help pay for any rent in advance, moving expenses or household items. Most people who have been on income support or jobseekers allowance for at least 26 weeks can apply.
These loans are paid back through deductions from your benefits.
Help for homeless care leavers
Most young people who have been in care are entitled to help if they become homeless. The help you are entitled to usually depends on your age and personal circumstances.
Care leavers under the age of 18
If you are under the age of 18, Cumbria County Council’s Children’s services department is responsible for finding you somewhere to live.
21 years old and above care leavers
Some older care leavers can get accommodation from the Housing Options Service if we can show that you are in priority need. For example, this may be the case if you:
• are vulnerable as a result of having been in care
• haven't had a stable home since you left care
• have slept on the streets in the past
Children’s services can help you by providing assistance with education and training until your 25th birthday.
If you are in full-time further or higher education and you have nowhere to stay outside term time Children’s services must also find you somewhere to live.
What is a local connection?
If you have been provided with accommodation by a local authority and you are normally living in an area for a continuous period of two years or more and some or all of this period falls before you are 16 years of age, then you have a local connection with that area.
You will also have a local connection to the area of the Local Authority that owes you the leaving care duty.
Help and advice for homeless care leavers
Get advice if you become homeless.
Your personal adviser can help you to:
• check whether Children’s services and/or the Housing Options service should help you
• tell you what sort of accommodation and support Children’s services normally provide in Allerdale – this will give you an idea of what you can expect
• tell you what longer term housing options are available in your area and give you an idea of how much it might cost
• put you in contact with specialist support organisations or local schemes that can help you raise a deposit or find a suitable place to live
Use Shelter's directory at england.shelter.org.uk to find an adviser in your local area, or call Shelter's helpline on 0808 800 4444.
This leaflet provides advice for people who won’t have anywhere to live after they're discharged from hospital.
You should tell the hospital nursing staff as soon as possible, so that they know that you will be homeless when you are discharged. They will ask the hospital discharge team to help if they can.
There is an agreement in place between the Council and the hospital discharge team. As part of this agreement, we have agreed that the hospital should not discharge you during unsociable hours where you cannot approach the Local Authority for help.
The discharge team may refer you to the Housing Options service at Allerdale Borough Council to carry out the homeless and advice service. They will assess your situation and you may be offered temporary accommodation while your application is assessed.
If you have a home already but it needs to be adapted, the hospital will refer you to Adult Social Care on 0300 303 3249 or email@example.com
Allerdale Borough Council
Housing Options Service
Tel: 0303 123 1702
Homeless ex‐armed forces advice
If you're leaving the armed services, or you are a former member, you may be entitled to extra help if you become homeless.
• Check the housing allocation scheme known as Cumbria Choice at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk
• Check the local lettings policies in areas where you want to be re-housed
• Get help with housing or apply as homeless before you're discharged
Homelessness rights for ex-forces
You may qualify for help from Allerdale Borough Council if you are a former member of the armed forces and are homeless or threatened with homelessness. In addition you will have to prove to the Council that you are eligible for housing assistance, and have not made yourself intentionally homeless.
Subject to you satisfying the above criteria Allerdale Borough Council has to help you with both emergency and longer-term accommodation if it is accepted that you are homeless and in priority need with regard to needing accommodation.
We must consider if it can help you using both general rules that apply to everyone and special rules that apply to people who were in the forces.
General rules for people in priority need
It can be easier to get help if you qualify under the general rules for people in priority need, for example if you have dependent children or are pregnant.
Allerdale Borough Council should also look to see if you are vulnerable in some way. This may involve showing how a disability, mental health problem, addiction or other issue affects your ability to secure housing for yourself compared with other people who are rendered homeless.
Extra homelessness rules for the armed forces
You should also be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of being a former member of the armed forces.
When deciding this, Allerdale Borough Council may consider:
• how long you were in the forces and what role you had
• if you spent any time in a military hospital
• if you were released from service on medical grounds (and have a Medical History Release Form)
• if you have had accommodation since leaving service and if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left
• how long it has been since you left service
To help support your case, you may need to provide medical evidence from the MOD, including a Medical History Release Form (if you were given one). It can be hard to establish that you are vulnerable.
You may need to seek independent legal advice or help from a specialist agency to make representations on your behalf if this council decides that you do not meet the criteria set out above, and therefore it does not owe a duty to you to provide you with accommodation.
Re-housing in the area of your base
To be accepted as homeless in the local council area where you were based, you must be able to show that you have a local connection with the local council where your base was situated.
You may be able to show a local connection with that area if you:
• currently work in the area
• have lived in the area for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years
• live with a partner who currently works in the area
If you have left the forces and are not yet working for another employer in the area, you won't be able to show a local connection through working in the area. However, you may still be able to show that you have a local connection as the time you spent living or working in the area may still count.
You will not establish a local connection with an area by virtue of serving, or having served, there while in the forces
You should also consider if you are able to show a local connection with this or another local council area where you have close family connections.
You don't need to have a local connection to apply to go on Cumbria Choice housing register.
Applying as homeless before discharge from the forces
Contact our Housing Options service if you think you will be homeless after discharge from the services. The Housing Options service should not wait until you are made homeless before it helps you.
Upon the production of a letter of discharge or some other evidence that confirms the date of your discharge from the Forces, Allerdale Borough Council should accept that from the date of discharge you will become homeless. In the event that you have not sought any housing assistance from this Council prior to your discharge from the Forces you may need to stay in your accommodation as long as possible and wait for Defence Estates to evict you. Defence Estates have to give you a Notice to Vacate before they can take you to court in order that they can obtain a possession order. You can use any Notice to Vacate and any possession order that is obtained against you as evidence in support of your homelessness application.
Ex-forces and single, homeless and on the streets
Many single homeless people don't qualify for help from Allerdale Borough Council or any other local authority. There is a range of services for people who find themselves homeless:
Home Group Ex Services / Veteran Accommodation in Cumbria have accommodation across Cumbria – www.cmves.org.uk Tel: 01772 894039
SPACES can help you find permanent / temporary accommodation, or they can refer you to the Beacon in Catterick, North Yorkshire – Telephone: 01748 833797 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.riverside.org.uk/care-and-support/veterans/spaces
Royal British Legion at support.britishlegion.org.uk
SSAFA provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex services personnel and their families. SSAFA can be contacted through www.ssafa.org.uk/cumbria
Use the Homeless England directory to find details of other day centres and hostels across the UK. This can be found at www.homeless.org.uk
Further housing support and advice by Veterans' Housing Advice
Veterans' Housing Advice is a new service which provides clear pathways for ex-Service personnel in housing need throughout the United Kingdom to move into permanent homes.
It is provided in partnership with The Royal British Legion, Shelter and Connect Assist, its main aim is to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm.
There is now a Veterans Housing Advice (VHA) website at support.veteransgateway.org.uk. The direct number to an advisor is 0808 801 0880, that can also be accessed via the Veterans’ Gateway on 0808 802 1212. This is available 24/7.
Services provided by members of the CHC include:
• Supported Accommodation - temporary accommodation for veterans, with support.
• Long Term Housing - settled accommodation for veterans, with or without support.
• General Needs - unsupported housing for members of the ex-Service community unable to buy or rent on the open market. Tenants will usually be self-sufficient, but may need to use some of the floating support listed. Some adapted properties may be available or adaptations arranged as necessary.
• Floating Support - Services delivered by visiting workers to people in their own homes to help people maintain their settled accommodation, e.g. Outreach Services (covering work with rough sleepers or people in temporary accommodation to help them access more settled accommodation and any support needs), Day Centres (the provision of activities and support to homeless and vulnerably housed people, also called by some providers 'drop-in' facilities)
Homeless after dishonourable discharge
Allerdale Borough Council may not have a duty to help you if you are homeless after being discharged on disciplinary grounds from the UK armed forces.
Joining the Housing Register
The following categories of applicants will be afforded a priority status for accommodation on Cumbria Choice if they have left the Armed Forces within the last 5 years:
• Those discharged from the Armed Forces as a result of sustaining a serious injury, illness, medical condition, or disability during service which is attributable (wholly or partly) to the person‘s service
• Those former serving members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service
• Those applicants who are in housing need and have been discharged from the Armed Forces such as former armed forces personnel in housing need
• Those bereaved spouses or civil partners of those serving in the regular forces where the bereaved spouse or civil partner has recently ceased to reside, or will cease to be entitled, to reside in Ministry of Defence accommodation
• Those applying following the death of their service spouse or civil partner, where the death was wholly or partly attributable to their service
Housing rights in a relationship breakdown can be complicated and you may need to seek advice before leaving your property.
If you have a joint tenancy or own a property with your ex-partner you may still have rights to occupy the place you are living in together.
To check what your rights are contact our Housing Options team on 0303 123 1702.
There are several places you could visit for advice:
Shelter has produced a guide for people who have experienced a relationship breakdown and what their housing rights are after splitting up. You can visit their website at england.shelter.org.uk or contact them by telephone on: 0344 515 1944.
The Allerdale Citizens Advice Bureau offer general and legal advice and help. Contact them at citizensadviceallerdale.org.uk or phone 01900 604735.
If you’ve decided that you need to find a new home, you will need to register on the housing register at www.cumbriachoice.org.uk and contact Westfield Housing Association on 01900 602906 or visit www.westfieldha.org.uk
Reviews, complaints and appeals
Reviews and appeals
There are some situations where there is a right to review:
• any decision made by the Council on the facts of a housing application
• a decision regarding eligibility for housing
• on the Council's decision on a homelessness application, including a decision to discharge duty after an offer is refused
There are other circumstances when we provide an appeal or review process:
• against a decision that an offer we have made is reasonable
• against a decision to remove a priority status on the choice based lettings housing register
Requests for a review of a decision must be submitted within 21 days of the date on our decision letter.
If you have made a homelessness application in accordance with the Housing Act 1996 and upon completing our enquiries, you are issued you with a "Decision Letter" that concludes that the Council did not owe you a duty to house you, you can ask for that decision to be reviewed. Please also see our other leaflet 'What is a Section 202 review?' for more detailed advice.
The Council complaints procedure should be used if it seems that the Council has not dealt with a case properly. Complaints are looked at initially by the staff dealing with the case and if needed, by their managers. They will try to resolve the issues directly and quickly.
You can make a complaint through our website at www.allerdale.gov.uk.
If this does not resolve the matter, the complaint will be considered by the Council's corporate complaints staff. Complaints that are not resolved using the Council's own complaints procedure can be referred to the Housing Ombudsman on 0300 111 3000.
The Ombudsman will check to make sure that the Council is carrying out its published policies fairly and efficiently and that there has been no disadvantage to an applicant by a failure in the process.
You are able to challenge the Council's decision legally in some cases. This is usually by a "judicial review" which seeks a legal judgment on the actions of the Council including its policies. There are also specific legal challenges to homelessness decisions.
You can receive free and confidential advice from housing advice agencies.
What is a Section 202 review?
If you have made a homelessness application in accordance with the Housing Act 1996 and upon completing our enquiries, we have issued you with a “Decision Letter” that concludes that the Council, did not owe you a duty to house you, you can ask for that decision to be reviewed. This is a statutory review and is carried out by the Council in accordance with Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996. This leaflet explains when and how to ask for a review.
Which decisions can I ask to be reviewed?
You have a right to seek a review of the following decisions made in relation to your homeless application:
eligibility (if you have been found ‘not eligible’)
homelessness (if you have been found to be ‘not homeless’)
the reasonable steps, or any changes to those steps, set out in your Personal Housing Plan (to prevent or relieve homelessness)
the prevention duty has been brought to an end
the relief duty has been brought to an end
priority need (if you have been found to be a ‘non- priority need’ case)
intentionality (if you have been found to be ‘intentionally homeless’)
restricted duty (if a member of your household is a ‘restricted person’)
referral to another housing district (if the decision is to refer your case to another council or that the conditions for a referral have been met)
suitability of accommodation (you can only request a review of the suitability of your temporary accommodation where the Council has accepted a full housing duty towards you and you are occupying temporary accommodation pending you finding suitable permanent accommodation through the Council’s Housing Allocation Policy).
suitability of settled accommodation offered to you in discharge of our full housing duty (Final offer of accommodation owed to a person/household to whom we have accepted a homelessness housing duty)
discharge of duty (where the Council concludes that it no longer owes you a duty to house you because of a change in your circumstances or due to an act resulting in the loss of your current temporary accommodation or an unreasonable refusal of a suitable offer of settled accommodation).
makes a decision to give an applicant notice that they have deliberately and unreasonably failed to cooperate with the council
makes a decision to give notice that the council will bring the duty to help secure accommodation to an end.
When can I ask for a review?
You must ask for a review within 21 days of notification of the decision. Your request for a review must be in writing. Therefore it is important to request a review as soon as possible. If you fail to request a review within the stipulated 21 days you will lose your entitlement to a review. If you request a review outside the 21 days you will have to show the Council that there were exceptional circumstances as to why you could not request a review within the 21 day time period. The Council will then decide as to whether to conduct a review out of time or not.
It is preferable that your request for a review is in writing. If you have any issues which may make this difficult please contact the Housing Options service.
Your review will be decided on a point of law. If the council has not made an error in law it is likely that your review may not succeed.
Can I get help with my request for a review?
There are solicitors who specialise in Housing Law who will be able to make representations on your behalf. Alternatively you can seek assistance from a specialist housing adviser, support worker, or family / friend who will be able to assist you to make the initial request for a review. It is imperative that you make a written request for a review as soon as possible. Detailed representations as to why you think the original decision is incorrect can be submitted at a later date. Do not wait to find a solicitor to represent you before you request a review. Once you have requested a review within the stipulated 21 days you can then find a solicitor to act on your behalf. Please note that once you have instructed a solicitor to represent you, we will require a signed consent from you to correspond with them.
Who will deal with my review?
Your review will be dealt with by one of the Council’s Housing Options Officers. This person will be both senior to and independent of the original decision maker.
How do I request a review?
Please send a review request in writing to the Housing Options service at email@example.com.
You can send your review through the post to Housing Options Service, Allerdale Borough Council, Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria CA14 3YJ.
What information should I put in my review request?
Ideally you should explain why you think the original decision is incorrect and provide any new information that supports your request for a review. However, simply putting in writing that you want to request a review is enough to start the process.
You will be given a reasonable period during the review to make any further submissions or provide additional information. However, please ensure you provide your full name, reference number, and contact details (current address or care of address, e-mail address, mobile number) so we can be sure who is requesting the review and how to contact you.
In addition, the Council will use whatever contact details you supply to provide you with the Council’s review decision once completed. If a solicitor is acting on your behalf your review decision will be forwarded to them by e-mail / First Class post.