Homeless advice and prevention

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Homeless advice

If you are homeless we can help and advise you. You should seek help as soon as you think there is a possibility that you may be made homeless. It is also important to contact the service as early as possible during the day if you have nowhere to stay.

Homelessness does not just refer to rough sleeping, a person or household can be considered homeless if they are a priority need and:

  • They have no legal right to stay where they are living.

  • They have a home but are in fear of violence at that address.

  • They can't live in the same home as the people with whom they normally live.

  • Have been issued with a notice to quit, a possession notice or eviction warrant.

There are many reasons why people become homeless; everybody has their own unique circumstances. It is the duty of the council (in accordance with the Housing Act 1996 Part VII) to assess those presenting as homeless and if eligible, provide them with assistance.

Assistance can be provided in a variety of ways. Where a person has nowhere to stay that night, we may be able to provide emergency accommodation. If you are threatened with homelessness we will ask if you can stay somewhere temporarily (with friends or relatives) while your application is being assessed.

If it appears you may be in priority need and you have nowhere to stay while your homeless application is processed, the council will provide you with temporary accommodation, this may be a bed and breakfast, a hostel or temporary accommodation.

If you are not in priority need the council does not have a legal duty to secure housing for you if you become homeless. You will, however, be given advice and assistance as appropriate to help you find somewhere to live.

The Homeless Act 2002 states that certain people have a priority need for housing if they are threatened with homelessness. These include:

  • People with dependent children.

  • Pregnant women.

  • People made homeless by fire, flood or other emergency.

  • People who are vulnerable - this includes people who are vulnerable because of their age; a physical disability; a mental illness; a learning disability; fear of violence, or from having been in institutional care or prison.

If you are in need of emergency temporary accommodation outside of office hours, over the weekend or on public holidays then please call the emergency duty team at Gloucestershire County Council on 01452 614194.

Homeless prevention

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, don't wait we can advise and assist you.

There are a variety of reasons that may mean you are at risk of becoming homeless. These include:

  • Difficulty paying your mortgage or rent.

  • A breakdown in your relationship with your parents or partner which means you can no longer live with them.

We provide a Housing Options Service, which will help you deal with these and other problems, and help you remain in your home. To contact the Housing Options Service phone 01684 272212.

If you choose to contact the Housing Options Service, a housing officer will offer help in a number of ways. You may be offered one or more of the following:

  • A homelessness assessment (as quickly as possible).

  • Mediation to help resolve family disputes.

  • Help to prevent or reverse illegal evictions.

  • Support to prevent or delay possession proceedings.

  • Sanctuary from domestic violence.

  • Help and advice on bidding on Homeseeker Plus.

You can also seek independent advice from the housing charity Shelter. For urgent housing advice you can call their national helpline 0808 800 4444.

Helping the homeless in cold weather

Street Link is an organisation that offers a way for the public to alert local authorities in England about rough sleepers in their area.

The service means members of the public can act when they see someone sleeping rough and it is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support available to them.

To contact Street Link to report a rough sleeper, please phone 0300 5000 914 or visit Street Link.

Severe weather protocol

Gloucestershire's local authorities operate a severe weather protocol when the temperature drops below zero for three consecutive nights.

The county severe weather emergency protocol and cold weather provision has two aims:

  • To ensure that no one dies on the streets due to cold weather.

  • To ensure that every effort is made to engage with individuals during the cold weather period so they do not return to the streets.

The local authorities will monitor the weather conditions for their area in relation to the definition above and make a decision on whether the severe cold weather arrangements apply. In addition, an occasional forecast above zero in a series of sub- zero nights or the impact of rain, snow and wind chill should also be considered in relation to 'severe weather'.

Once a local authority has been alerted about a rough sleeper, it will have its individual arrangements in place to sort out temporary accommodation during severe weather and help each person complete a housing benefit claim where necessary.

Further advice and information