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Homeless advice

This information is for anyone who may be threatened with homelessness or is homeless. Advice is available from South Lakeland Citizens Advice Bureau, from Shelter, or from a local solicitor. The sooner you seek advice the more chance there is of preventing your homelessness.

The Council's Duties

If you are threatened with homelessness the council will interview you and make an initial assessment on the day of your application or the next working day if outside working hours.

Housing Options

Housing Options provides a one stop service for local people, providing housing related advice and help to prevent homelessness. If you are experiencing  difficulties with any of the following please contact us and we will do our best to help you:

  • your landlord has asked you to leave

  • you are not getting on with the people you live with

  • you cannot afford your mortgage, rent and/or bills or have other problems managing your tenancy or accommodation.

  • you are currently homeless

  • your accommodation is not suitable as it is too small or in poor condition

  • your accommodation is not suitable because of a medical condition or disability

  • you are experiencing or at risk of violence, abuse or harassment

Enquiries

The council will make enquires to decide the type of help it can provide. The questions we must ask are listed below with an explanation of the terms used.

Who is entitled to accommodation under the homelessness legislation?

Are you eligible for assistance?

Most people will be eligible for assistance unless they are subject to immigration controls.

Are you homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days?

You are homeless if you have no accommodation available in the United Kingdom or elsewhere this means:

  • you have no accommodation you are legally entitled to occupy

  • you have accommodation but it is not reasonable for you to continue to occupy it

  • you could be threatened with homelessness if your landlord gives you Notice to Quit or your parents tell you to leave

Are you in Priority need?

You are in priority need if any of the following apply:

  • you have dependant children or are expecting a child

  • you are vulnerable as a result of old age, mental health, physical disability or handicap

  • you are 16 or 17 years of age

  • you have no accommodation as a result of an emergency, such as fire or flood

  • you are vulnerable due to being institutionalised following periods in the armed Forces, being in prison or as a result of being looked after, accommodated or fostered

  • you are under 21 and were fostered, looked after or accommodated by Children Services between the ages of 16 and 18

  • vulnerable as a result of violence, or threats of violence, which means that it is unreasonable to remain in your home

Are you intentionally homeless?

You are intentionally homeless if any of the following apply:

  • you have deliberately done, or failed to do, something and as a result are no longer entitled to occupy accommodation

  • you have abandoned a property or deliberately not paid the rent or mortgage

Do you have a local connection with South Lakeland?

If you do not have a local connection with South Lakeland, another local authority may have a duty to provide accommodation. Local connections include:

  • working in the area

  • living in the area for the last six months or three out of the last five years

  • having close relatives living in South Lakeland for a minimum of the last five years

Decision

When the Council has the answers to all five of these questions, we will make a decision. The subsequent duties will vary depending upon the decision reached.

Review of the Decision

If you disagree with the decision made by the council you can request a review of this decision. Details are provided with a decision letter.

Advice and Information

The council will provide advice and information to assist homeless people free of charge and attempt to prevent homelessness wherever possible.

Housing officers can provide advice and assistance in the following areas:

  • security of tenure

  • homelessness

  • housing allocations

  • alternative housing options

  • relationship breakdown

  • domestic violence, relationship breakdown and housing options

  • harassment and unlawful eviction

  • referral and sign-posting to other agencies

  • mortgage and rent arrears

Accommodation

Everyone who is in housing need is encouraged to complete an application form for Cumbria Choice. Properties are allocated according to the Cumbria wide allocation policy which can be found on their website.

Due to high demand for Social Housing, most families accepted as homeless are likely to be provided with temporary accommodation until a permanent home is available.