The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018 and changed the way we deal with homeless applications. The changes are detailed below.
When you contact us, we'll normally make an appointment for you to see a Housing Options Advisor. If you fulfil certain criteria, you'll be offered a homeless application, followed by an assessment of needs and a Personal Housing Plan. This may be arranged on the same day as your initial appointment, or at a later date that suits. When you attend a Housing Options appointment or complete a homeless application form, we'll discuss all your options with you.
Please note - you will need to answer a number of questions to find out how we can help.
Are you eligible for assistance?
Some groups of people who have lived abroad are not entitled to help if they are homeless. For example, the council will check if you're subject to immigration control or if you're an EEA member, whether you fulfil certain criteria.
Are you homeless or threatened with homelessness?
The council must check whether you're legally classed as homeless before it can decide what help you're entitled to. This includes whether you're at risk of homelessness in the next 56 days. In deciding whether you're homeless, we have to look at any accommodation you may have access to.
Are we minded to think you are in priority need?
You'll be in priority need if your application includes
- someone who's pregnant;
- people responsible for dependent children;
- most people aged 16 or 17;
- certain care leavers;
- people who're particularly vulnerable; or
- people who're made homeless by fire or flood.
If you're homeless and in priority need we may have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation. In an emergency, you may be placed into a bed and breakfast until suitable accommodation can be provided.
Are you entitled to a Prevention duty?
You are likely to be entitled to such a duty if you are at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days and eligible for assistance. At this point, you'll be entitled to an assessment of need and a Personal Housing Plan will be developed between you and your case worker. Over the next 56 days or until this duty ends, you'll be expected to work with your caseworker to prevent homelessness where possible, building and developing your personal plan.
Are you entitled to a Relief duty?
You're likely to be entitled to such a duty if you're deemed as homeless and eligible for assistance. Again, you'll be entitled to an assessment of need and a Personal Housing Plan will be developed between you and your case worker. Over the next 56 days or until this duty ends, you'll be expected to work with your caseworker trying to find alternative accommodation in order to relieve homelessness.
Please note, if you're owed a Relief duty but do not have local connection to the area, you may be referred back to the area where you do.
If you are still homelessness after either or both the Prevention and Relief duty have expired, the following questions will also be asked.
Are you intentionally homeless?
We have to make enquiries into the reasons you became homeless and must be satisfied that:
- you deliberately did (or didn't do) something that caused you to leave accommodation which you could otherwise have stayed in; or
- it would have been reasonable for you to stay there.
This may include:
- not paying your rent or mortgage when you could have afforded to;
- you were evicted for anti-social behaviour; or
- you left accommodation you could have stayed in.
Do you have a local connection?
In deciding if you have a local connection, we have to look at whether you (or anyone else in your household):
- have lived in the area and for how long;
- work in the area;
- have family connections in the area; or
- need to be here for another special reason.
After making these enquiries, we'll inform you in writing of the decision we've made. The letter will say:
- the reasons why the decision was made; and
- that you have a right to request a review of a decision, and how you can do so.
This is the final category that needs to be investigated following a full homeless application and a duty decision needing to be made. If you don't have a local connection to Selby district, we may not have any duty to assist you in your homeless situation. Should this be the case, we'll make referral to a local authority where you have a local connection.
Once a full assessment has been carried out you'll be notified in writing of the outcome and informed whether or not we have a duty to provide you with long term or temporary accommodation.