Docstoc

Guide to Homelessness - The Issue of Homelessness

Document Sample
Guide to Homelessness - The Issue of Homelessness Powered By Docstoc
					                                            Taunton Deane Housing

                                            A Guide to
                                            Homelessness
                                            (Housing Act 1996: Part 7 as amended by the
                                            Homelessness Act 2002)


 Who to contact if              I may be homeless: What should I do?
 you require further
 information                    The Council have a duty to help you if they believe that you may be:

 The Council’s                  ●   Homeless.
 Housing Options                ●   Threatened with homelessness (likely to become homeless within
 Team at                            28 days).
 The Deane House                ●   Eligible for assistance (some people from abroad may not be eligible for
 Belvedere Road                     homelessness assistance from the Council).
 Taunton TA1 1HE
 Tel: 01823 356581.             Contact the Council’s Homeless and Advice Section as soon as possible, even
                                if homelessness is more than 28 days away. You can call in at the Council’s
 Opening hours                  Community Services Reception or local offices, telephone, write or e-mail.
 are:
 Monday –                       You are homeless if:
 Thursday
 8.30 am – 5.00 pm              ●   You have no legal right to occupy any property in the United Kingdom or
 (interviews 9.00 am                anywhere else.
 – 4.30 pm).                    ●   You have a home but cannot get into it.
                                ●   You have a mobile home (caravan, boat, etc) but nowhere to site it.
 Friday                         ●   You have to live apart from someone you would normally live with
 8.30 am – 4.30 pm                  because there is nowhere you can live together.
 (interviews 9.00 am            ●   You have a home but if you continue to live there it is probable that this
 – 4.00 pm).                        will lead to domestic violence or other violence against you or a member
                                    of your household.
 or                             ●   Unreasonable to occupy it - eg: fire/flood.
 The Wellington
 Community Office               What will happen?
 at 30 Fore Street
 Wellington                     You will have a private interview in the Council offices or your present home.
 TA21 8AQ                       You may like to have another person with you for help and support.
 Tel: 01823 667279.
                                Your housing needs will be assessed and an application form will be
 If you become                  completed. You will be asked about your circumstances and family and where
 homeless when the              you have been living. Make sure that you tell us all the facts so that
 Taunton Deane                  everything can be taken into account.
 Council offices are
 shut, you should               You should bring with you any documents which might be of help such as:
 telephone Social
 Services on 01458              Tenancy Agreement, rent book or mortgage statement, Notice, Court
 253241.                        Summons or Possession Order, Pregnancy Certificate or medical report.
                                Details of income and expenditure and any debts.
Taunton Deane Borough Council                          Page 1 of 6                                      January 2009
                                It is an offence to knowingly make a false statement or withhold
                                information in order to receive homeless assistance from the Council.

                                The Council will decide if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
                                and whether you are in a priority group.

                                You are in priority need if you (or a member of your household):

                                ●   Are pregnant.

                                ●   Have dependant child or children living with you.

                                ●   Are a person aged 16 or 17 to whom a Social Services Authority does not
                                    owe a duty to accommodate under the Children Act 1989 (as amended by
                                    the Children Leaving Care Act 2000).

                                ●   Are a person aged under 21 who was (but is no longer) a person to whom
                                    a Social Services Authority owed a duty to accommodate under the
                                    Children Act 1989 (as amended by the Children Leaving Care Act 2000).

                                ●   Are vulnerable as a result of:

                                    -   old age, mental illness, handicap, physical disability or other special
                                        reasons.

                                    -   being a person aged 21 or more who has been previously looked after,
                                        accommodated or fostered (within the meaning of the Children Act
                                        1989 as amended by the Children Leaving Care Act 2000).

                                    -   having served a period in person or custody.

                                    -   having been a member of Her Majesty’s regular naval, military or air
                                        forces.

                                    -   ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence from another
                                        person or threats of violence from another person which are likely to be
                                        carried out.

                                    -   disaster – ie: fire or flood.

                                Emergency, temporary accommodation

                                If the Council believes that you may be homeless, eligible for assistance and
                                in priority need and you have nowhere to stay while further enquiries are made
                                you will be offered emergency temporary accommodation. This is likely to be
                                in a homeless hostel or a bed and breakfast establishment, for which a charge
                                will be made. If you are unable to safeguard your furniture or belongings, the
                                Council may be able to help with removals and storage, for which a charge will
                                be made.

                                What will the Council do

                                The Council will make all necessary enquiries to decide what duty, if any, is
                                owed to you. During this time, if your circumstances change in any way,

Taunton Deane Borough Council                             Page 2 of 6                                     January 2009
                                You must let the Council know at once. Enquiries will usually be completed
                                within 30 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances. You will
                                normally be notified of the Council’s decision within three working days of the
                                decision.

                                If you are found to be homeless (or threatened with homelessness), eligible for
                                assistance but not in priority need, the Council will assess your housing needs
                                and provide you with advice and assistance in your efforts to retain your
                                present accommodation or to find somewhere else to live.

                                If you are found to be homeless (or threatened with homelessness), eligible for
                                assistance and in priority need the Council will need to be satisfied that you
                                have not become homeless intentionally.

                                You become homeless intentionally if you:

                                ●   Lose a home which was reasonable and available, through your own
                                    deliberate actions or failure to take action in the full knowledge of relevant
                                    facts.

                                ●   Collude in a sham eviction in order to be helped as a homeless person
                                    when there is no other good reason for you to be homeless.

                                If you are found to be homeless (or threatened with homelessness), eligible for
                                assistance, in priority need and intentionally homeless the Council will assess
                                your housing needs and provide you with advice and assistance in your efforts
                                to retain your present accommodation or, if it is no longer available, we may
                                provide you with temporary accommodation for a short time and give you
                                advice and assistance in your efforts to find somewhere else to live. With your
                                permission we will also inform Social Services of your situation.

                                If you are found to be threatened with homelessness, eligible for assistance, in
                                priority need and not homeless intentionally the Council will decide if you have
                                a local connection with the Taunton Deane area.

                                You have a local connection if you:

                                ●   Have lived in the area for six out of the last twelve months from choice.

                                ●   Have lived in the area for three out of the last five years, from choice.

                                ●   Have permanent employment in the area.

                                ●   Have close relatives who have lived in the area for the last five years.

                                ●   Have special reasons to live in the Taunton Deane area.

                                If you are found to be homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need, not
                                intentionally homeless but with no local connection in the Taunton Deane area
                                you may be referred to a Local Authority in another area where you have a
                                connection, unless you would be at risk of domestic or other violence there.

                                If you are found to be homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need, not
                                intentionally homeless and with a local connection in the Taunton Deane area
                                the Council have a duty to make sure that you have somewhere to live.
Taunton Deane Borough Council                           Page 3 of 6                                        January 2009
                                Will the Council or a Housing Association house me?

                                Offers of long-term accommodation can only be made to those applicants on
                                the Taunton Deane Housing Register with the greatest priority, in accordance
                                with the Council’s allocation scheme. If you are not in a high enough band to
                                be re-housed from the Housing Register, the Council will make sure that
                                temporary accommodation is available for you.

                                Can I refuse the offer of accommodation?

                                If you choose not to accept any offer of suitable accommodation, the Council’s
                                duty to you will end. (See also “Notifications and Reviews” below.)

                                What happens while I am in temporary accommodation?

                                The Council will continue to accommodate you unless:

                                ●   You cease to be eligible for assistance.

                                ●   You become homeless intentionally from the accommodation provided for
                                    you.

                                ●   You voluntarily stop occupying the accommodation as your only or
                                    principal home.

                                ●   You refuse an offer of long-term accommodation through the Council’s
                                    allocations scheme.

                                ●   You accept an offer of long-term accommodation through the Council’s
                                    allocations scheme.

                                ●   You accept an offer of an assured tenancy.

                                ●   You accept a qualifying offer of an assured shorthold tenancy. A
                                    qualifying offer is an offer made by a private landlord through an
                                    arrangement with the Council. The duty will only end if you are happy to
                                    accept the offer.

                                Notifications and Reviews

                                The Council will notify you, in writing, of decisions made about your homeless
                                application and what duty, if any, they have towards you. If a decision is not in
                                your favour you will be notified in writing of the reasons why it has been made.
                                You can ask for a review within 21 days of being notified if you disagree with
                                the Council’s decision on:

                                ●   Eligibility for assistance.

                                ●   Non-priority need and related duty.

                                ●   Intentional homelessness (or threatened homelessness) and related duty.




Taunton Deane Borough Council                            Page 4 of 6                                     January 2009
                                ●   Whether conditions are met for referral to another Council.

                                ●   Notification of referral to another Council and relevant duty.

                                ●   The suitability of an offer of accommodation made to discharge the
                                    Council’s duty. You may ask for a review of the suitability of
                                    accommodation whether or not you have accepted the offer.

                                The Council will ask you to put in writing within seven days of your request
                                for a review any representations you may wish to make including:

                                ●   Your reasons for requesting a review.

                                ●   Any new, relevant information which you may have.

                                Another person may write on your behalf if you wish. If no written
                                representations are received from you within seven days, the review will take
                                place on the basis of the facts known to the Council at the date of the review.
                                The review will be carried out by a Senior Officer in the Council who was not
                                involved in the original decision. S/he will consider any written representations
                                made by you and all the facts known to the Council at the date of the review.

                                You will be notified of the decision on the review, normally in writing, within
                                eight weeks from the date on which you requested the review – if the Council
                                upholds the original decision.

                                If you disagree with the decision, you have no right to ask for a further review
                                of it, but you may appeal (see below)

                                Should the Council consider; that there was an irregularity in either

                                ●   the original decision

                                ●   or in the manner in which it was made. They will consider your case if the
                                    Council still reach a decision which is against your interests, they will
                                    inform you of this, in writing, giving their reasons. In this case you, or
                                    someone acting on your behalf, may ask for a further review at which you
                                    can make oral representations to the person who is to make the decision
                                    on the review. If you do not agree with the decision on review then you
                                    may appeal.

                                Appeal

                                If you are:

                                ●   Not satisfied with the outcome of a review

                                ●   or not notified of the review decision within the correct time, you may
                                    appeal to the County Court.

                                An appeal must be brought within 21 days from the date when the decision
                                was notified to you or the date by which you should have been notified of the
                                decision. In certain circumstances however, the court may give permission for
                                an appeal to be brought after 21 days.

Taunton Deane Borough Council                           Page 5 of 6                                      January 2009
                                The Council has discretion to accommodate you during the appeal process.

                                You may appeal to the County Court against a decision by the Council not to
                                secure accommodation for you pending that appeal.

                                If you consider that you have been treated unfairly as a result of
                                maladministration, you should put your complaint in writing to the Council or
                                ask for a copy of the Council’s Comments and Complaints leaflet. The Council
                                will respond to you in writing but, if you remain dissatisfied, you may complain
                                to the Ombudsman.

                                How else may the Council help?

                                The Council has a scheme called Home Solutions; for further information
                                about this scheme contact the Housing Options Team on 01823 356581.

                                The Council is keen to help homeless households move into accommodation
                                in the private sector. If you find a suitable property but are unable to pay the
                                required deposit, the Council may be able to assist you.

                                Contacts

                                Shelter Somerset Housing Aid Centre
                                0800 1690317
                                Provides independent advice on housing problems.

                                Citizens Advice Bureau
                                44 Station Road, Taunton 01823 282235
                                Provides advice on budgeting and list of specialist solicitors.




 For Further Information Please Contact:

 Taunton Deane Borough Council
 The Deane House
 Belvedere Road
 Taunton
 TA1 1HE
 Telephone: 01823 356581
 Email: enquiries@tauntondeane.gov.uk
 www.tauntondeane.gov.uk

 If you need any information in this document
 translated into another language or in Braille,
 large print, audiotape or CD please telephone
 or email us.

Taunton Deane Borough Council                           Page 6 of 6                                      January 2009

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:9
posted:3/10/2011
language:English
pages:6