The Housing Options team have a legal duty under the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 to help you if you're at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days or have nowhere to live.

The type and level of help depends upon your personal situation, but we'll always provide you with advice and assistance wherever possible.

Our first duty is to prevent you becoming homeless (section 195 of the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 - 'Prevention' duty) or, if this isn't possible, to help you find alternative accommodation (section 189B of the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 - 'Duty to relieve homelessness').

The homelessness assessment process

If you're homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, contact the Housing Options team.

We'll carry out a housing assessment with you which involves a detailed interview to discuss your circumstances. At the end of the interview, we'll agree a personal housing plan with you and if necessary, arrange for a support worker to help you keep or find accommodation.

Throughout the process, we'll ask you to provide us with all your relevant information and documents. We have to keep you informed about your case; we'll invite you back for further interviews if necessary and write to you with any legal decisions.

Preventing homelessness

We'll carry out a housing assessment and agree a personal housing plan with you to prevent homelessness (known as 'Prevention' duty) - this duty lasts for 56 days and can end for several reasons including:

  • if we help you keep your home
  • if we help you to find alternative accommodation
  • if you refuse accommodation
  • if you don't co-operate with your personal housing plan
  • if you cease to be eligible 
  • if you withdraw the application
  • if you lose contact with us

Helping you find alternative accomodation

We'll carry out a housing assessment and agree a personal housing plan to help you find alternative accommodation (known as 'Relief' duty) - this duty lasts for 56 days and can end for several reasons including:

  • if we help you to find alternative accommodation
  • if you refuse accommodation
  • if you don't co-operate with your personal housing plan
  • if you cease to be eligible
  • if you withdraw the application
  • if you lose contact with us

If you're actually homeless, there are certain circumstances when we'll offer you temporary accommodation while we continue to help you find alternative accommodation under the 'Relief' duty.

Homelessness decision (full duty)

If we can't help you to keep your home or find you alternative accommodation, you'll be assessed under the Housing Act 1996 when the 56 day of 'Relief' duty has ended.

We only have a duty to house you if you meet the following 5 criteria:

  • eligibility: eligible for assistance in accordance with section 185 of the Housing Act 1996
  • homeless: declared homeless in accordance with section 175 of the Housing Act 1996
  • priority need: in need of assistance as set out in section 189 of the Housing Act 1996 (for example, a family with children, pregnant women, care leavers, or those who are vulnerable due to old age, disabilities, mental health, or domestic violence)
  • unintentionally homeless: 'intentionally' refers to whether or not someone has done or failed to do something which was a deliberate act, the consequence of which led to the loss of their home in accordance with section 191 of the Housing Act 1996
  • local connection: have a local connection under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996

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