Skip to main content

Homelessness and Homelessness Prevention Documents

If you are homeless now, or in danger of losing your accommodation, you should contact the Housing Options team on 01900 702660 or

For more information about the Housing Options service, please go to the Homelessness and Homelessness Prevention page.

The documents below 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 the 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: the 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: the 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:

Cumberland 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): 0300 373 3730     


Duty to refer

The Homelessness Reduction Action came into being on 3 April 2018 (Public Authority duty was delayed until 1 October 2018).

From 1 October 2018, all public authorities have a “Duty to Refer” cases of homelessness or those threatened with homelessness, to a local housing authority.  Guidance has been provided about what is included in the list of public authorities and it includes the following:

  • Prison (public and private)
  • Youth Offender Institutes
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation Services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • A&E services provided by hospitals
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Hospitals in their capacity of providing in-patient treatment
  • Social Services authorities

How do I make a referral to the Housing Options Team?

Please make a referral to the Housing Options Team if you’re in contact with someone who:

  • Indicates they are having a problem with their housing situation
  • Is at risk of losing their home
  • Is homeless

You can also refer someone to the team by using this link:
There is also the option for someone to self-refer using the same link.
Alternatively, you can call  0300 373 3730 or email

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 the Council, who will carry out the homeless and housing advice for housing assistance as a homeless person.

Help from the Council if you are single and homeless 

If you apply to the Council for housing assistance because you are homeless, we might not necessarily be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation. Our duty from April 1, 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. 
The 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 

Help finding housing in the private rented sector 

You could try to find housing in the private rented sector. The 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 and contact Westfield Housing Association for an application form on 01900 602906 or visit  

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 

At the Council we have a dedicated Crisis and Prevention officerwhose role it is to:

  • Offer crisis intervention and access to secure emergency accomodation for households in a domestic abuse crisis or identified as being at severe risk of harm from others
  • Provide non-judgemental personalised help and support to address any immediate safeguarding and longer term rehousing needs identified.
  • Conduct a specialist housing assessment and support including relocating to another area for those at serious risk of harm.
  • Provide advocacy support wiorking with key partners and statutory bodies to mitigate risks and promote community safety, including advice and assistance to anyone identified who poses a significant risk to others.
  • personal and community safety regulations.

The service is available to men and women over 16 years of age. 

Contact our Crisis Prevention officer on 0303 123 1702.

The Council is part of the Cumbria Domestic Abuse Partnership and is dedicated to working together with all Cumbrian district councils to be part of a country-wide domestic abuse network providing specialist advice and support to anyone who needs help.

Download the CDAP information leaflet 111.5 KB

 You can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or at 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
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
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 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. 
The Council has to give you advice about finding somewhere to live. Some people are entitled to emergency accommodation. 
The 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 a woman who has to leave home because of domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to the 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 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 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 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 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 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 help to settle in to your local community from Cumbria County Council. The help you get mainly depends on your age. Go to the Care Leaver Offer page on the Cumbria County Council website for more information.  

We are part of a Joint Protocol for Homeless Young People in Cumbria.

Key advice 

•    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 the 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 the Council's 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 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 .


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. 
Personal adviser 
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 
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 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.  
Priority need 

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 the 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 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 Council's Housing Options service 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

Contact information  
    Cumberland Council
    Housing Options Service
    Allerdale House
    Tel:   0300 373 3730


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. 
Key advice 
•    Check the housing allocation scheme known as Cumbria Choice at
•    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 the 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 the 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. 
The 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, the 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, the 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 the 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 – 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  or visit their website at

Royal British Legion at

SSAFA provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex services personnel and their families. SSAFA can be contacted through
Use the Homeless England directory to find details of other day centres and hostels across   the UK. This can be found at
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    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) 


Veterans Gateway

Veterans can access services through the Veterans Gateway , an online service and telephone resource commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and delivered by a consortium headed by The Royal British Legion. Within the Gateway a housing specialist service is in touch with veteran housing providers and has up-to-date information on any vacancies within the 4,000 plus housing units in the country specifically ringfenced for veterans. 

Homeless after dishonourable discharge 

The 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 

Contact us 

If you prefer to speak to an officer at the Council regarding your situation, please contact our Housing Options service on 0300 373 3730 or

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 0300 373 3730
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 or contact them by telephone on: 0344 515 1944
The Allerdale Citizens Advice Bureau offer general and legal advice and help. Contact them at 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  and contact Westfield Housing Association on 01900 602906 or visit

You are being exploited if someone:

  • Makes you feel like you have no choice
  • Threatens you, your family or loved ones
  • Pressures you to provide sexual services
  • Moves you between locations where sex is being sold
  • Controls your day to day life

Download our human trafficking leaflet

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 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. See our What is a Section 202 review? leaflet  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.
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.

Legal challenges

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
You can send your review through the post to Housing Options Service, Cumberland 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.

Privacy statement

Controllers contact details

Cumberland Council
Allerdale House
CA14 3YJ

Purpose and lawful basis for processing

Our purpose for processing your personal data is to discharge our duties as a local authority under the Housing Act 1996, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

The lawful basis we rely on to process your personal data is article 6 (1)(e) of the UK GDPR, where processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.

As the personal information we collected contains Special Category Data, as defined in the UK GDPR, the lawful basis we rely on to process this data is article 9 (2)(g), where processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest. Schedule 1, Part 2 (6) of the Data Protection Act 2018 is the condition for processing which relates to our statutory purpose.

What we need and why we need it

We will need basic personal identifiers relating to yourself including your full name, contact information and details regarding your current and previous residence. We will also need details regarding your sexuality or sexual health, religious or spiritual or philosophical beliefs, ethnicity, physical or mental health, political opinion, genetic data and criminal history.

We may also need to gather personal information from third party sources, including:

  • Private landlords, housing associations and letting agents
  • Family members
  • Mortgage providers
  • Health services
  • Children, family and adult services
  • Education services
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), housing benefits and council tax services
  • The Police, prisons, probation and youth offender services
  • Citizens Advice and voluntary sector organisations.

The above is not an exhaustive list and we need this information to assess your current situation and provide advice, guidance and assistance regarding your housing situation.

We will also use this information to provide support to those threatened with homelessness and those living in temporary accommodation. 

Additionally, where necessary, we will use this information to make referrals to third parties and / or other agencies that may be able to provide you with specialist assistance. 

What we do with it 

Your information may be shared with third party organisations depending on your personal circumstance. These may include and are not limited to: 

  • Social services and other related agencies
  • Medical professionals such as those in the NHS or private medical practices, including your primary clinician
  • Housing associations
  • Citizens Advice
  • The Police
  • Probation
  • Supported accommodation providers
  • Other services within the Council. 

How long we keep it 

We will retain your personal data for six years following the resolution of your housing requirement. 

Do we use any data processors?


Your right to be informed 

You have a right to be informed when and how your personal data is collected and used. As a controller, we will provide you with the purpose and legal basis for processing your personal data, how long the personal data will be retained for and who it will be shared with. 

Your right of access 

You have a right to access copies of your personal data, along with ancillary information, held about you within the organisation; a request for such access is called a Subject Access Request.

When we provide you with copies of your data, you will be informed of: 

  • The purposes and legal basis for processing
  • The legitimate interest for processing (if applicable)
  • The categories of personal data held
  • Details of whether you are under a statutory or contractual obligation to provide the data
  • Who the personal data is shared with
  • The details of transfers to any third countries or international organisations (if applicable)
  • How long the personal data will be retained
  • Details of the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling (if applicable)
  • Your rights in respect of the processing
  • Your rights to submit a complaint to the independent supervisory authority. 

Your right to rectification 

You have a right to have your personal data rectified if you believe it is inaccurate or completed if it is incomplete. 

When a request for rectification is received, we will take all reasonable steps to determine the accuracy of the personal data and rectify such data where necessary. 

We will notify all third parties of any changes if they are recipients of that personal data. 

There are specific circumstances where your request for amendments may be refused; however, you will be informed of the justification for the refusal as part of the process. 

Your right for erasure 

You have a right to request that your personal data is erased, commonly referred to as the ‘right to be forgotten’. 

Where personal data has been shared with third parties, we will notify them of a request for removal. Where personal data has been made publicly available online, all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure erasure of that personal data. 

There are specific circumstances where your request for removal may be refused; however, you will be information of the justification for the refusal as part of the process. 

Your right to restrict processing 

You have a right to request the restriction or suppression of processing of your personal data. 

This right applies when: 

  • You contest the accuracy of your personal data and we are in the period of verifying its accuracy
  • The personal data has been processed unlawfully and you oppose erasure and request restriction instead
  • You have objected to processing your personal data and we are considering our legitimate interest for processing, where legitimate interests are used as the lawful basis for processing; or 

Personal data is no longer required but we have been requested to retain the data for the purposes of a legal claim. 

There are specific circumstances where your request for restriction may be refused; however, you will be informed of the justification for the refusal as part of the process. 

Your right to data portability 

The right to data portability allows you to request your personal data on a machine-readable format. 

Once personal data is provided to you in response to a data portability request, we are no longer responsible for any subsequent processing carried out by another individual or organisation. 

Appropriate measures will be used to ensure that the personal data is transmitted securely. 

There are specific circumstances where your data portability request may be refused; however, you will be informed of the justification for the refusal as part of the process.

Your right to object 

You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. 

This right applies where: 

  • Processing is related to direct marketing
  • A task is being carried out in the public interest
  • Processing is for the exercise of official authority vested in you, or 
  • Processing is carried out under legitimate interests of the organisation (or those of a third party).

There are specific circumstances where your request to stop processing your personal data may be refused; however, you will be informed of the justification for the refusal as part of the process. 

Your rights related to automated decision-making, including profiling 

You will not be subject to automated processing, including profiling, which would significantly adversely affect you. 

Where automated individual decision-making is used, we will implement suitable measures to safeguard your rights and provide a way for you to contest the decision or request human intervention. 

Systems that use automated individual decision-making will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the integrity of the system. 

How to make requests to the Council 

If you wish to make a request in respect of any of your rights provided by data protection law, a request can be made to 

Your right to complain

If you are dissatisfied with the way your request has been handled you should initially contact customer services on  0300 373 3730 .

If you remain dissatisfied with our service and how we have handled your complaint or request to exercise your rights, then you can submit a complaint with the independent supervisory authority, The Information Commissioners Office at: 
The Information Commissioner 
Wycliffe House 
Water Lane 

Council Strategy design

Cumberland Council

On 1 April 2023 local government in Cumbria changed, with Cumberland Council providing all your council services.  

Don't worry though, your bins will be emptied as normal, and you'll still be able to speak to the same team about any enquiries to do with things like council tax, benefits, planning or any other service.

Find out more about the changes.

Keep up to date by finding and following the new council on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Sign-up to receive updates straight to your email inbox.

Accessibility and language tool

Use the ReciteMe toolbar for accessibility and language options