Facing homelessness

First things first are you homeless or threatened with homelessness?

We can try to help you keep your current home if you are threatened with becoming homeless. We have a duty to do this if you are threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days. If you have been given a notice, even if it does not expire within 56 days, we want to work with you to help you avoid becoming homeless.

Facing homelessness can happen to anyone and can happen in many ways, for example, eviction, debt or unemployment. We are here to help and will do what we can to try and help you keep your home, the earlier you contact us, the more time we will have to work on solutions.

Complete and submit a request for housing assistance, and we will contact you as soon as we can.

The law says someone is homeless if:

  • “They have no accommodation anywhere in the world that is legally available for them to live in”
  • You can be considered to be homeless if you cannot live in your house because of flood, fire or other disaster
  • You have a home but it is unreasonable for you to continue to live there
  • You have less than 56 days remaining in your existing accommodation
  • Your home is a moveable structure (boat, caravan etc) and you have nowhere to put it legally
  • You have a home but you or a member of your family would be at risk of violence if you continue to live there
If you are not considered to be homeless or threatened with homelessness the enquiries into your application will end. But if there is any further support we can offer with maintaining a tenancy for example, you will be referred to them for support.

How does it work?

The primary aim of the team is to prevent you from becoming homeless. If you think you are likely to be made homeless, we advise you to make early contact with us. You will have the opportunity to tell us everything about your circumstances and your housing needs. We will try to resolve problems relating to landlords, benefits, mortgages, family, friends or court orders and we will look at options you may have.

A caseworker will initially interview you to get all of the facts of your situation before exploring a wide range of options to help you work through your housing option problems.

Are you eligible for assistance?

The Council can only provide accommodation for you if you are eligible for assistance. The term “eligible” is usually related to your status here in the United Kingdom. It means you are not subject to immigration control (Asylum and Immigration Act 1999). The law in this area is complicated and you should ask for advice.

If the Council decides that you are not eligible for assistance, your application will end and you will be given a decision in writing that advises where you can go for help.

Are you intentionally homeless?

You are deemed intentionally homeless if you deliberately do or fail to do something which causes you to lose your home, which otherwise would have been available and reasonable for you to have continued living in.

The most common examples of people being made homeless

  • Refusing to pay rent when there was enough income coming into the home
  • Breaching your tenancy conditions for which the landlord successfully obtains possession
  • Selling or giving up property that was available, suitable, and affordable to have continued occupying without satisfactory reasons
  • Being evicted for anti-social behaviour caused by you, a member of your household or anyone visiting you

If you are found to be intentionally homeless, the Council’s duty to provide temporary accommodation will end. However, the Council will continue to provide temporary accommodation for a reasonable period of time.

The legal bit

Legislation states all people who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness are assessed under the Housing Act 1996. East Cambridgeshire District Council has a statutory duty to assist homeless people. For those the Council does not have a duty to provide accommodation for, we still have a duty to provide with advice and assistance.

What other legislations or guidance the officer must follow when assessing an application?

The investigation process into a homeless application is not a simple one. There are many pieces of legislation that impact on the homeless investigation process, including:

  • Housing Act 1996 Part VII as amended
  • Homeless Code of Guidance
  • Housing Act 1985, 1988, 1996
  • Protection from Eviction 1977
  • Family Law Act
  • Children’s Act 1989
  • Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Case Law
  • Mental Health Act
  • Human Rights Act
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council Homelessness Strategy 2015-2018
  • Localism Act 2011

Further information:

Shelter (external link)

Tel: 0808 800 4444

Free housing advice helpline

The Money Advice Service (external link)

Tel: 0300 500 5000

You can contact them from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm and Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm

Community Advice Service

Tel: 01353 66 55 55

Email: communityadviceservice@eastcambs.gov.uk

CAS is a free, confidential source of advice and information, for people with employment, consumer issues, money, benefits, settled status and other problems.

National DebtLine

0808 808 4000 (freephone)

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 9:00pm, Saturday: 9:30am to 1:00pm

Housing Rights Service (external link)

Tel: 028 902 456 40

Step change Debt Charity (external link)

Tel: 0800 138 111 (Free phone including all mobiles)

Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm Saturday 8:00 am to 4:00pm

Financial Ombudsman Service (external link)

Tel: 0800 023 4567 (Consumer helpline) or Tel: 020 796 41 000

Email: complaint.info@financialombudsman.org.uk

We want to listen we want to help

Contact us

Tel: 01353 665555

Email: housingservices@eastcambs.gov.uk

Emergency out of hours: Tel:07710978900