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Homeless or Threatened with Homelessness

From 3rd April 2018, if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days and are eligible for help we have a legal duty to provide you with assistance.

Am I eligible for help?

You must be eligible for Social housing. You can find more details on who is eligible here. If you are subject to immigration control you will be asked for further information.

If you are eligible we are required to investigate your homelessness or threatened homelessness.

Will the Council find me somewhere to live?

Not necessarily. The law has changed and we are now required to prevent your homelessness where it is possible to do so.

As from the 3rd April the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 (S189A) states that if you are eligible for assistance, are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days the council has a duty to complete an in depth assessment and create a Personalised Housing Plan with you.

The law has changed and we are now required to prevent your homelessness where it is possible to do so. We have 56 days to complete this process. However, this can be extended where a positive outcome can be predicted.

This means that the Council have a duty to support you in trying to prevent your homelessness no matter what your priority need or why you are in the current situation.

If you are eligible we will then move on to the next stage which will assess your current situation, housing needs, wishes, and your household's support needs. Using this information we will, with your involvement, create and agree a personalised housing plan. This will help you explore your choices in a clear and realistic way. It will set down what actions you will do and what actions we will do to resolve your current housing situation. This may include talking to your landlord, mortgage lender or family to negotiate a positive outcome to resolve your current threat of homelessness. It may also include referring you to other helpful organisations to enable you to sustain your current housing or find alternative accommodation.

What happens if you cannot prevent me from becoming homeless?

If all attempts to prevent your homelessness fail our next duty is to relieve your homelessness by assisting you to secure alternative accommodation. If you have no connection to Colchester The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 (S198(1A) states that under the relief duty we can refer you to the local authority where you have a connection. If you are homeless and we have a 'reason to believe' you are in Priority Need we may have a duty to provide you with interim (short term) accommodation also known as S.188 accommodation. If you have a local connection to Colchester and we have been unable to prevent your homelessness we have a duty to complete another assessment and Personalised Housing Plan.

This housing plan will identify how and what actions we will take to assist you to relieve your homelessness and what actions you are required to do. If we have reason to believe that you have a priority need we will have a duty to provide you with interim accommodation for a further 56 days.

What happens if you cannot relieve my homelessness?

If after the 56 days we have not been able to relieve your homelessness enquiries will made to determine if a full housing duty is owed. At this point we will be required to determine if you have a Priority Need and if you have taken an action which has caused you to lose your home, which was reasonable for you to continue to occupy.

· Are you are in priority need - Shelter Priority Need

· Are you intentionally homeless - Shelter Intentionally Homeless

· Do you have a local connection - Shelter Local Connection

​Each case is assessed individually by an allocated case officer who will work with you throughout the above process but you can use the above guides to give you an idea of whether you fall into these categories and whether you can expect help from us under the Full Duty.

If we do have a duty to find you housing this can be in the private sector, supported housing, in council or housing association accommodation.

What kind of accommodation will I get if I am owed a Full Duty?

If we are unable to prevent and/or relieve your homelessness once the 56 days of relief duty have finished and we have accepted a full homeless duty to you we will make accommodation available to you. This accommodation will be called Temporary Accommodation most of which is in the Colchester Area. Where possible we will take your own circumstances into account when offering Temporary Accommodation. However, we can use accommodation in the private sector to end our Full Duty, and this does not have to be with your consent.

The Council's duty to accommodate you will continue until one of the following circumstances occurs:

· You refuse suitable temporary accommodation (S193(5))

· You stop being eligible for assistance (S195(6a));

· You become homeless intentionally from the accommodation made available to you (S193(6b));

· You accept an offer of accommodation through the Council's Housing Register (S193(6c));

· You accept an offer of an Assured Tenancy from a private landlord (S193(6cc));

· You voluntarily vacate the accommodation made available to you (S193(6d));

· You refuse or accept an offer of accommodation through the Council's Housing Register having been informed of the consequences (S193(7a))

· You refuse or accept an offer of a suitable Assured Shorthold tenancy from a private landlord (S193(7aa)).

All secure Council and Housing Association tenancies are allocated by means of Housing Registers (sometimes called Waiting Lists). For more information on the housing register see the housing applications page Gateway to Homechoice