Broxtowe's Inter-Agency Homelessness Strategy has been developed in partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council Social Care Services Department, Supporting People and Primary Care Trusts in Nottinghamshire. It is part of a wider project to develop strategic work around homelessness for the Local Authorities in South Nottinghamshire. These Local Authorities are Ashfield District Council (Hucknall), Broxtowe Borough Council, Gedling Borough Council, Nottingham City Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council.
An Inter-Agency Homelessness Strategy Steering Group made up of representatives from the South Nottinghamshire District Councils, Nottinghamshire County Council, the Voluntary Sector, the Primary Care Trusts and the Nottinghamshire Rural Community
What is homelessness?
The Council has overseen the development of the Homelessness Strategy.
This Homelessness Strategy focuses on the needs of all homeless families, single people and childless couples. This Homeless Strategy defines homelessness as:
- Rough sleeping or living in something which is not normally considered to be housing (such as vehicles, sheds, barns etc.) either long term or occasionally
- Staying with friends, or relatives, or living in a state of dispossession (i.e. not being able to have your belongings in the same place that you are sleeping). This being commonly referred to as 'hidden homelessness'.
- Living in the insecurity of not knowing where you will sleep tomorrow or the next 28 days.
- In temporary accommodation such as hostels, Local Authority accommodation provided under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 or other specialist homelessness provision.
The strategy covers all homeless people within the district. This includes those who would not be seen as being in priority need under the homelessness legislation (see Section 2.4 of the Strategy document), all people at risk of becoming homeless, people who might have become homeless intentionally and homeless people in an area who might not have any local connection.
If you think you might have to leave your present home, it is important that you seek advice as soon as possible. Broxtowe Borough Council may be able to assist you in keeping your home or help you to find alternative accommodation. The sooner you let us know, the sooner we can assist you. Please call and make an appointment to discuss your housing options.
We can make an appointment for you to see a Homelessness Prevention Officer. We will be able to provide you with advice and information about your situation in a private interview room. Please bring with you any papers that may relate to the matter, e.g. Tenancy Agreement, Notice to Quit etc.
If all options have been explored and homelessness is not preventable, the Housing Act 1996 (Part VII - Homelessness) states that all Councils have a legal obligation to find housing for certain people. To be offered accommodation, you must be:
- eligible for assistance
- homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days
- in priority need
- not intentionally homeless, and
- have a local connection to the Borough of Broxtowe.
Are you eligible for assistance?
Broadly speaking, you are not eligible for assistance if you are a person from abroad and unable to make a claim for housing benefit. However, there are some circumstances when this might not apply. Your Homelessness Prevention Officer will be able to advise you on this point.
Are you homeless?
You are homeless if:
- you have a home but are at risk of violence from a member of your household
- you have nowhere to live with your family or people you would normally live with
- you have been living in a property where you have no legal right to remain
- you have somewhere to live but cannot gain entry to it
- your home is a caravan or boat and you have nowhere to legally place it
- you have a home in which it is not reasonable for you to live
- you have nowhere to stay tonight.
Do you have a priority need?
People are considered to have a priority need if they:
- have dependent children living with them
- are pregnant or live with a pregnant woman
- are aged 16 or 17
- a person under 21 who was in care or fostered between the ages of 16 and 18
- are vulnerable because they are elderly, have a physical or mental disability, or suffer from a mental illness
- are vulnerable due to time spent in care, in HM forces, in prison or as a result of violence from another person
- have lost their home because of fire, flood or other emergency.
If you are eligible, homeless or threatened with homelessness and have a priority need, the Council may have a duty to arrange accommodation for you. If it is not possible to make you an offer of permanent accommodation, you may be offered interim accommodation, and this could include:
- bed and breakfast accommodation
- private rented accommodation
- hostel accommodation
- The Council's interim temporary accommodation
However, if you do not have a priority need, the Council has a duty to provide you with appropriate advice and assistance to help you secure accommodation.
The Council does not have a duty to provide interim or permanent housing to you if you are not in priority need.
Are you intentionally homeless?
When a homeless application is made, your Homelessness Prevention Officer will need to check if you have done something or failed to do something which resulted in you losing your accommodation. If you are considered to be intentionally homeless, Broxtowe Borough Council may only provide interim accommodation for a reasonable period of time while you make arrangements to find your own accommodation.
Do you have a local connection?
A person has a local connection with Broxtowe if they, or a person they would normally live with, has:
- lived in Broxtowe for a certain period of time, or
- family associations within Broxtowe, or
- permanent employment within Broxtowe, or
- other special circumstances.
Do you have other suitable accommodation available?
The Council needs to be satisfied that no other suitable accommodation is available for occupation by you in the Borough. You may be asked what attempts you have made to secure accommodation for yourself and family. Your Homelessness Prevention Officer will be able to provide you with comprehensive advice and assistance regarding all the accommodation options available to you. They will also advise you of the duty the Council owes to you.
What happens next?
When you come in for your interview, your Homelessness Officer will talk to you about your situation and complete a homeless application form. The information that you give during this interview will be the basis on which our decision as to the duty owed to you by the Council will be made. It is important that you bring with you any papers that relate to your homeless application.
Once the application form is complete, you will be asked to read and sign it.
You will be required to sign prior to your interview. This explains the duty the Council will owe to you if you are accepted as homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need and unintentionally homeless.
The interview is conducted in private and the information that you give is confidential. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to contact a third party, e.g. a bank, building society, Social Care Services, private landlord, parents or relatives or another local authority, in order to complete the necessary enquiries. You will be asked to give your authorisation for us to contact this third party.
During the interview, the Homelessness Officer will offer you advice in accordance with your housing situation. This advice will depend on your own circumstances. The officer will be happy to try to answer any questions or queries that you may have.
Once the interview is complete, the officer will make such enquiries as are necessary based on your circumstances. When these enquiries are complete, a decision will be made on your application. The Council aims to give you a decision within 33 working days from the date of application. You will be notified in writing of the Council's decision and the reasons for it.
If we consider you to be homeless, in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we may have a duty to secure temporary accommodation for you until a settled home can be found. The Council will make you one reasonable offer of permanent accommodation suitable to your families' needs and this could be a flat or a house. You will have a choice of north or south of the Borough.
Whilst you are in temporary accommodation you should continue to explore all housing options as a suitable Housing Association or private rented property may become available before you are offered a Council tenancy.
Your right to review
If you are not happy with the Council's decision, you have the right to request a review. If you wish to request a review of the decision, you must do so in writing within 21 days from the date on the decision letter. If you have any queries, your Homelessness Officer will be pleased to help.
Our service to you
As with most of our services we strive to ensure this meets the standards our customers expect. To this end we have produced a range of Service Charters, containing details of the standards of service you can expect to receive.