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Homeless

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

1. Overview

On 3 April 2018 the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into effect and changed the way that we deal with any eligible person who is at risk of homelessness. If you're homeless, new statutory duties enable us to work with you to find a new home. We can also try to help you keep your current home if you are threatened with becoming homeless within the next 56 days.

Housing and Homelessness Advice

Finding yourself with nowhere to live or being threatened with homeless is worrying and stressful. We want to help you by preventing homelessness from occurring wherever possible so that you can avoid the worry of this difficult situation.

You may be entitled to assistance from us if:

  • you've received a notice.
  • you've been told to leave your home.
  • you no longer have a legal right to occupy your home.
  • you've been prevented from gaining access to your home.
  • or you're at risk of violence or abuse if you were to remain in your home.
  • If you need housing advice.

You'll first be asked a range of questions to assess where you're likely to be eligible for assistance and considered as being at risk of homelessness. Depending on your situation you may be advised that you should complete a referral for housing assistance. This referral can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

How will the Council help me?

Where we accept that there's reason to believe you may be homeless or threatened with homelessness, we must carry out inquiries to satisfy whether you're eligible for assistance and if so, what duties are owed.

Applicants who are eligible and homeless or threatened with homelessness must have an assessment of their case, which includes assessing:

  • the circumstances that have caused them to be homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • their housing needs, and what accommodation would be suitable for them, their household and anybody who might reasonably be expected to live with them; and
  • the support that would be necessary for them, and anybody who will be living with them to have and sustain suitable accommodation
  • agreeing the Personalised Housing Plan (PHP) with the applicant. This plan will set out the reasonable steps that we'll take to help the applicant to prevent or relieve their homelessness and will contain steps that the applicant is required to take themselves (known as mandatory steps). The plan may also include steps that we consider advisable for the applicant to take.
  • The assessment and PHP will be kept under review and any amendments will be notified to the applicant.
  • We can end our duty to applicant as a result of the applicant’s deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate to resolve their homelessness.

Threatened with homelessness

A person is threatened with homelessness if they're likely to become homeless within 56 days. A person is also threatened with homelessness if a valid Section 21 has been issued, and the notice will expire within 56 days.

If we're satisfied that someone applying for housing assistance is eligible and is in threat of homelessness, we have a duty to work with the person to help prevent them from becoming homeless.

The first option, we'll explore with them is to help them to remain in their current home where it is possible. Where this is not possible, we'll help to secure alternative accommodation that the applicant can move into in a planned way. This will often involve taking steps to extend an applicant’s stay in their existing accommodation until they can move.

Homeless

There's a number of different factors that determine whether a person is homeless.

A person is homeless if they have no accommodation in the UK or elsewhere which is available for their occupation and which that person has a legal right to occupy.

A person is also homeless if they have accommodation but can't secure entry to it, or the accommodation is a moveable structure, such as a vehicle or vessel designed or adapted for human habitation and there is nowhere it can lawfully be placed in order to provide accommodation.

A person may also be treated as homeless if they have accommodation but it wouldn't be reasonable for them to continue to occupy that accommodation.

If we're satisfied that a person applying for housing assistance is eligible and homeless, it places a duty on us to work with the person to help them secure accommodation.

We must take reasonable steps to help the applicant secure suitable accommodation with a reasonable prospect that it will be available for their occupation for at least 6 months.

What to do if you're homeless

If you are at risk of losing your home, or you are homeless but have somewhere to stay temporarily, and require support to keep your home or find alternative accommodation, please to complete our enquiry form in Step 2. We will make contact with you to discuss your options available.

Step 1: Homelessness Prevention Tool

If you are worried about being homeless or becoming homeless then please first use our Homelessness Prevention Tool. You can review your budget, check for benefit entitlements, and more. Please complete this form before continuing to step two.

Step 2: Enquiry form

If you've used the Homelessness Prevention Tool in step one, and you're worried about being homeless or becoming homeless then tell us using our online enquiry form.

Further information

Visit Kent Housing Group for more information on the following:

Helpful advice for groups

  • Armed Forces Veterans
  • Care Leavers
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • Prison Leavers
  • Young People

Helpful advice for certain situations

  • Dealing with Debts
  • Finding Private Rented Accommodation
  • Harassment and Illegal Eviction
  • Housing Repairs and Adaptations
  • Low Cost Home Ownership
  • Mortgage Arrears
  • Rent Arrears
  • Section 21 Notice
  • Tenancy Deposits

If you're looking for rented accommodation, Kent Housing Group have a booklet with advice on how to search for properties.

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