Are you homeless or at risk of losing your home?
Being homeless doesn’t just mean you have nowhere to live at all – you can be homeless if:
- You have a home but you cannot return to it because you, or a member of your family would be at risk of violence;
- You have a home but have been locked out and cannot get in;
- You have a home but it is unreasonable for you to continue to live there;
- Your home is a moveable structure, for example a boat or a caravan and you have nowhere to put it legally.
If you are homeless or you are worried about becoming homeless you should contact us as soon as possible so we can advise you about your options.
What to do if you are homeless
- Contact the Housing and Advice Team online, or by email, telephone or letter (our details are at the foot of this page);
- Or you can visit our Long Stratton office, Monday to Friday (not bank holidays) between:
- 8:45am and 5:00pm Monday to Wednesday;
- 9:30 am to 5:00pm Thursday, and;
- 8:45am to 4:15pm Friday.
- If you are homeless in an emergency outside these times you can telephone 01508 533633.
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Our aim is to prevent homelessness whenever possible and we will help you to keep your home whenever we can.
- If you rent your home, we can advise you on negotiating with your landlord to delay or to stop you becoming homeless;
- We can provide benefit advice to maximise your income;
- We can provide debt advice and contact your landlord/mortgagor if debt problems are threatening your home;
- We can refer you to other agencies for advice and support.
What we will do when you contact us
Losing your home can be a difficult time but most people do find somewhere else to live. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to find a new home. If you are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless, you should contact us as soon as possible.
We will ask you questions about your present position and give you some initial advice. If we think there is a real risk of you losing your home we may arrange for you to have a visit from an experienced adviser.
The adviser will find out more about your circumstances. Our main aim is to help you to stay in your home, but if this is not possible (for example if you are suffering or at risk from domestic violence) we will give you advice and help to find you somewhere else to live. We may put you in touch with other agencies for them to help you.
If there is nothing that can be done to prevent your homelessness you may be given an appointment to make a homelessness application - read the notes below on how this works.
What if I am homeless today?
Some applicants will qualify for emergency accommodation. We will only arrange this if we have reason to believe that you may:
- be homeless and;
- be eligible for assistance and;
- have a priority need.
Will the Council have to house me if I am found to be homeless?
We do not have to find housing for everyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness. The duty owed by us depends on the following set of legal tests. These are whether the applicant:
- Is actually homeless;
- Is eligible for assistance;
- Falls within one of the priority need categories;
- Did not make themselves intentionally homeless;
- Has a local connection with the Council where the application is made.
Am I Homeless?
You can be considered as homeless if:
- You have nowhere to live in the United Kingdom or anywhere else in the world;
- You have a home but cannot return to it because you, or a member of your family would be at risk of violence;
- You have a home but have been locked out and cannot get in;
- You have a home but it is unreasonable for you to continue to live there
- Your home is a moveable structure, for example a boat, a mobile home or a caravan and you have nowhere to put it legally.
Am I eligible for assistance?
If you are a person from abroad or a person subject to immigration control (within the meaning of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999) you might not be entitled to any help with housing. The law is complicated and you should ask for advice.
Am I in priority need?
You might be in priority need if:
- You have dependent children or you or someone else in your household is pregnant;
- You are homeless as a result of a disaster such as a fire or flood;
- You are 16 or 17 years old (except people for whom Social Services have responsibility);
- You are aged 18-20 and used to be in care (except students in full time education whose accommodation is not available outside term time)
The Council considers you are vulnerable as a result of:
- old age, mental illness or handicap, physical disability;
- having a care background, having spent time in the armed forces or having served a prison sentence;
- fleeing violence or threats of violence;
- another special reason.
We will decide whether you are vulnerable by looking at your individual circumstances) If you are not in priority need then we will not have a duty to house you, but we will still offer you advice and assistance.
Am I intentionally homeless?
We can decide that you are intentionally homeless if:
You lost your last home because of something you did or failed to do, or;
you chose to leave a home you could have stayed in.
If you are intentionally homeless we will only provide you with temporary accommodation for a limited period and give you advice and assistance to help you find your own accommodation. In cases of intentional homelessness involving families with children, we have a duty to offer the family a chance to be referred to Social Services.
Do I have a local connection with the area?
You might have a local connection with the area if you:
Live or have lived in the area for some time;
Have a job in the area (but not casual work);
Have close relatives (e.g. parent, adult children, brother or sister) who have lived in the area for some time;
Have a special reason for needing to live in the area.
If you do not have a local connection with South Norfolk and you do have a connection with another area, we can ask the Council there to help you.
What if I disagree with the Council’s decision?
You will get a letter giving you our decision and the reasons for it. You have the right to ask for the decision to be reviewed. A leaflet explaining this procedure will be included with the decision letter. A copy of this leaflet is also available on request.
What happens if I am accepted as homeless?
If we decide you are homeless, eligible, in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we have a duty to find you a place to live.
If you have a local connection we will give you advice on all your housing options.
Related pages on this website
Shelter: guide to homelessness
Articles on homelessness, including your rights and ways to avoid becoming homeless, from Shelter - the national organisation tackling homelessness and bad housing in Britain.
|contact officer/team:||Housing Advice Team|
|web:||online enquiry form|
|freephone:||0808 168 2222|
|address:||South Norfolk Council
South Norfolk House
Norwich NR15 2XE
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Last updated on: 24 October 2011