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Homelessness


There are a number of reasons why people become at risk of losing their home. The Housing Advice Team work to try and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

If you are eligible for assistance and threatened with homelessness, we have a duty to try to prevent your homelessness by taking reasonable steps to assist you to stay in your current home where appropriate, or to help you to secure alternative accommodation. If you are homeless, we have a duty to try to relieve your homelessness and provide you with advice and assistance to assist you to find alternative accommodation.

However, it is not the Council's sole duty to offer you a home. You will need to work with us by following the action plan set out in your Personal Housing Plan to help you remain in your current home or to secure alternative accommodation. You will be offered an appointment with one of our housing advisors who will undertake a full assessment of your housing needs to enable us to identify suitable housing options which may be available to you. This assessment will include: the circumstances that caused you to become threatened with homelessness, your housing needs and type of accommodation required, and details of any support needs of both you and your household.

Your housing advisor will then draw up a personal housing plan, and agree what actions will be undertaken by each of you, working together, to try and assist you to remain or secure accommodation. By working together we have the best chance to resolve your housing difficulties.


Asked to leave the family home?

If you are asked to leave by family or friends, we may be able to negotiate on your behalf, or offer mediation to enable you to remain within the home. We may also be able to negotiate for an extension of the time you are allowed to stay to enable us to explore available housing options with you.

Rent arrears?

It is important that rent is treated as a priority even if you have other debts. We will talk to your landlord on your behalf, whether you are a private, council or housing association tenant, to see if problems can be resolved. We can, for example, refer you to specialist advisers such as Citizens Advice, who can negotiate your debts with lenders and help to ensure that you are receiving all of the Benefits you are entitled to in order to maximise your income.

Mortgage difficulties?

As with rent, mortgage payments should be seen as a priority above other debts. If you are having difficulty in meeting your mortgage payments, you should seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau as there may be options you can try to reduce payments or increase your income.

If you are receiving Income Support, Employment and Support allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credits, you may be able to claim support for mortgage interest payments from the Benefits Agency, subject to eligibility. Again, the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to assist you.

If you are having difficulty affording repairs or are thinking of carrying out home improvements, you should get advice before taking out another loan which you may not be able to afford. Go to the Wessex Resolutions website for further information on home improvement loans: Wessex Home Improvement Loans


Remember - you do not have to be homeless before you can apply for housing by registering with Homefinder Somerset

If you have already lost your home or are about to, we may be able to help you find and move into private rented accommodation. Help moving into Private Rented Accommodation

Somerset Homelet is a free local website for tenants and landlords to search for and advertise private rented accommodation. The website covers Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane, West Somerset and North Somerset. To search for private rented properties in these areas please follow the link above, help moving into private rented accommodation. For more detailed information on landlord and tenant services please follow our link to the Somerset West Landlord and Tenant Services.SWeLT

 


Help for Women and Men Experiencing Domestic Violence

Somerset Domestic Abuse Service provides advice and assistance to women, men and their children who are experiencing domestic violence. They can be contacted on their help line 0800 69 49 999.

The National Women's Aid help line can also be accessed 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247  or visit their website:  National Woman's Aid for further information on the services they offer.

Mankind Initiative is a charity that provides a help-line service for male victims of domestic violence or abuse. They can be contacted on 01823 334244 or visit their website:  Mankind Initiative for further information on the services they offer.

If you are concerned about your safety you should dial 999 and speak to the police.


Homeless out of office hours

If you become homeless and are unable to contact us because our offices are closed then please contact the Out of Hours Team on 01823 368244.


Useful contacts

Shelter

Free housing advice including help on related mortgage debt or welfare benefits issues. Visit the  Shelter - Homelessness advice website.

National Debtline

For help on how to deal with debt problems, visit  National Debt Line website.

Citizens Advice  (CA)

For help on resolving any legal, money, or welfare benefit issues, or other problems. Find your nearest CA at  Citizens Advice Bureau or under 'C' in your local phone book, or see the  Advice Guide  for further information.

pdf Somerset Homelessness and Review 2017 [1.64MB]