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Guidance

Guidance to help people facing homelessness

In accordance with homeless legislation, anyone that the Local Authority has reason to believe are homeless or facing homelessness within 56 days, and who are eligible for housing assistance in the UK qualifies for a plan to assist you to either prevent your homeless situation, or relieve your homelessness in terms of helping you to ensure that suitable accommodation becomes available to you for at least six months.

Anyone who is homeless or facing homelessness can contact the homeless team for advice. Specific advice is also tailored for specific groups such as:

  • care leavers;
  • people released from prison or youth detention centres;
  • former members of the armed forces;
  • victims of domestic violence;
  • people leaving hospital;
  • people suffering mental illness; and
  • any other group identified by the Local Authority as being at particular risk of homelessness.

If the Local Authority has reason to believe that you are homeless or facing homelessness within 56 days, a homeless assessment and personalised housing plan (PHP) will be created. The PHP will include:

  • the circumstances causing homelessness;
  • the housing needs of the household;
  • the type of accommodation the household will require; and
  • any support the household will need to secure and retain accommodation.

The Local Authority must determine and seek agreement from you on:

  • steps that you will take to secure and retain accommodation; and
  • steps that the Local Authority will take to secure and retain accommodation.

These plans must be kept under review until the housing issue has been jointly resolved. The aim is for the Local Authority and the household is to work together to find a solution tailored to the households circumstances, irrespective of whether the household is in priority need.

Priority need categories are as follows:

  • dependent children who normally live with you;
  • pregnancy;
  • 16/17 years old;
  • care leavers aged 18 to 20 year old;
  • vulnerable due to old age, physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems, fleeing domestic abuse or violence, time spent in care, prison or the armed forces; and
  • homeless because of fire of flood.

If you are not considered in priority need and the Council does not have a duty to offer you interim accommodation, (unless the temperature drops below 0 degrees centigrade for three consecutive nights or more) but does have a duty to provide information and advice on the following:

  • preventing homelessness;
  • securing accommodation if you become homeless;
  • the rights of persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, and the duties of the Local Authority;
  • any help that is available from the Local Authority or persons in the Authority’s district who are homeless or may become homeless; and
  • how to access that help.

Required documents

If you are facing homelessness, you will be asked to provide all of the following documents which apply to your case.

Personal details

  • Photo ID for yourself and your spouse/partner (driving licence/passport).
  • Birth certificates for each of your children.
  • Proof of pregnancy (eg MATB1 certificate or proof of pregnancy).

Accommodation details

  • Your tenancy agreement if you are renting, either privately or through a Registered Provider.
  • Proof of ownership if you are an owner occupier and a copy of most recent mortgage statement.
  • Proof of sale and details of any equity from any property you have ever owned.
  • Details of any rent or mortgage arrears.
  • Notice to quit/court papers/injunction papers.
  • Letter from friend/relative/parents asking you to leave.

Financial details

  • Contract of employment.
  • Proof of welfare benefits.
  • Last three months’ bank statements or pass books for all bank/building society/savings accounts held.
  • Last two months’ or five weeks’ pay slips.
  • Proof of debts (statements; repayment arrangements; letters from creditors).

Medical information

  • Completed Medical Information form.
  • Copy of repeat prescription/proof of medication.
  • Supporting information from medical professional if applicable.

By supplying us with this information, we will be able to offer you the most appropriate advice for your housing needs and current circumstances.

Interim accommodation

If you are assessed as being in a priority need category in accordance with homelessness Legislation the Council has a duty to provide you with interim accommodation.

If the Council’s interim units are all occupied, you will be offered bed and Breakfast accommodation until such a time as interim accommodation becomes available. Due to the lack of availability locally, bed and breakfast facilities are likely to be outside of Horsham District (Brighton, Crawley, Horley or Worthing). Interim accommodation is spread across Horsham District (including rural areas) and the property you are allocated may not be in an area of your choice. With the exception of assistance dogs (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act), pets are not permitted in these properties.

Banding

Applicants in Bands A or B making their own arrangements until suitable accommodation is available will not be penalised and will remain in Band A or B from the date on which they were advised.

Whilst every effort will be made to accommodate specific needs of individual households, Horsham District Council does not own any social or affordable rented housing but refers applicants to Registered Providers (Housing Associations) when they come to the top of the list for housing. Social and affordable rented accommodation is an extremely scarce resource in Horsham District and households are increasingly having to look to the private sector for accommodation to meet their needs.

Due to the extremely high level of demand, applicants in Bands A and B of the waiting list are likely to wait a considerable period of time before they are offered social rented accommodation. To help minimise this time it is to your advantage to choose as many areas as possible including those where availability is more likely to arise.

If you are homeless or facing homelessness, and you are not disqualified in accordance with Horsham District Council’s Housing Register and Nominations Policy, you will be placed in Band A if you have a permanent contract of employment, or are self-employed and work more than 16 hours per week, and have been employed for 9 out of the last 12 months, or are in receipt of a benefit which indicates you are unable to work. You will be placed in Band B if you are not working, are found to be intentionally homeless, or have no established local connection to the Horsham District.

If you decide to wait on the housing register, you do not need to contact us unless your circumstances change. Your allocated band will not change. The Housing Services Department will contact you to arrange a verification visit prior to nomination but you are likely to have a long wait.

Tenancy Deposit Loan Scheme and private renting

The Council has a Tenancy Deposit Loan Scheme which may be able to assist you with the start-up costs of a new tenancy. The principle of the scheme is that we check your incoming funds against your outgoings, in order to see if the scheme will be affordable for you, and if there are monthly available funds then we will consider lending the deposit and first month's rent (to be paid directly to the landlord/agent of the property). There is usually a requirement to have a guarantor that resides in the UK, to make a promise in writing to repay the loan if you default on re-payments, but this can be assessed on a case by case basis.

If you are single and under 35 years of age, renting a room in a shared house is a realistic option in relation to the local housing allowance (LHA) rates set by The Valuation Office Agency Rent Officers, who calculate housing benefit for tenants renting from private landlords. LHA rates are based on private market rents being paid by tenants in the broad rental market area (BRMA). Using an internet search engine to explore the current rental market in Horsham, Crawley, Worthing and coastal towns will give you a realistic idea of what is available. Helpful websites to help with your search for a room in a shared house are www.easyroommate.com and www.spareroom.co.uk

Under 25 year olds

If you are under 25 years of age, have a local connection with Horsham and would like to live at Horsham Y Centre, please ask the Housing Team to complete a referral for you. This is a low to medium support housing option and every resident is allocated to them to ensure the smooth transition to your next permanent home.

Rough sleepers

In recent years we have developed the number of options available to engage with rough sleepers in the Horsham District. We provide an advice service every weekday between 9am and 5pm and can be contacted by registering your homeless application on our website, by calling 01403 215204 or by emailing housing@horsham.gov.uk. We have also developed partnerships with Turning Tides, Horsham Matters and partners in order to improve our offer to those rough sleeping.

In addition, we also link in with partners at the Salvation Army, local church groups, Change Grow Live (drug and alcohol services) and other statutory organisations in order to support homeless households.

Throughout the winter months, a night shelter is operated by Horsham Matters every day with referrals being assessed by Turning Tides.

If people are concerned about someone sleeping rough in England or Wales, they can highlight them using the StreetLink website: www.streetlink.org.uk. The details provided are sent to the council’s Homeless Outreach team to help an outreach worker will actively seek out and engage with rough sleepers to assist them to access services and appropriate housing solutions.

People wishing to support the homeless are urged to donate to charities rather than giving the individuals money as this assures that those most in need receive help in the right way and helps to break the cycle of homelessness.

Direct access schemes

Details of direct access hostels and agencies which may be able to help you are listed below:

Crawley Open House

  • Riverside House, Stephenson Way, Three Bridges, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 1TN Telephone: 01293 447702
  • 24 bed short-stay hostel and day centre. Please telephone first for availability. At least one form of ID required. Day centre is open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm. Weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 5pm. Offering IT facilities, canteen and TV area, Support from dedicated resettlement, mental health and advice workers, afternoon classes and rough sleeper bedding.

Brighton Hostel

  • Telephone: 01273 698024
  • 20 bed hostel for single homeless with high support from key worker.
  • Referral by Rough sleepers Support Team. Telephone: 01273 265672

St Patrick’s Hostel

  • Cambridge Road, Hove. Telephone: 01273 749561
  • 29 beds. Referrals are made by the Rough Sleepers Support Team
  • Telephone: 01273 265672 and must have a local connection to Brighton.

Turning Tides

  • St Clare’s Day Centre, 6-8 Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3DN.
  • Telephone: 07736 268902
  • Short term hostel with 14 beds. Waiting list held at St Clare’s Day Centre.
  • Long Term Hostel 13 beds. Accommodation offered on 3-9 months contract.

Stonepillow

  • St Joseph’s, Hunston Road, Chichester, PO20 1NP.
  • Telephone: 01243 537934
  • Emergency accommodation for 10 men and 2 women in dormitory style rooms. Doors open 7pm to 9pm queuing from 6pm. Evening meal and breakfast provided. A breath test will be requested on entry, and help will be provided to apply for housing benefits.

The Old Glassworks Day Centre

  • St Cyriacs, Chichester, PO19 1AJ.
  • Telephone: 01243 775925
  • 9am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Wednesday 9am to 3.30pm. Closed all day Sunday. Open access for homeless and vulnerably housed people. One to one support and signpost service.

Mulberry House

  • 32 Epsom Road, Guildford, Surrey.
  • Telephone: 01483 577375
  • Age 16-35 vulnerable female only. 15 rooms some shared. Self catering. Current rent £210.21 per week with personal contributions depending on income covered by benefits.

Vaughan House

  • 5-7 Chertsey Street, Guildford, Surrey.
  • Telephone: 01483 504704 option 2
  • Direct access followed by assessment. 47 bed hostel for 18 to 65 year old men and women. Current rent is £173.37 which includes food. Residential rent £35.44 with housing benefit top up. Also has alcohol treatment programme with four bed detox unit. Rents as above.

Sussex Mental Healthline

  • Telephone: 0300 5000 101
  • Available Monday to Friday 5pm to 9am, and 24 hours at weekends and Bank Holidays in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. Available 24 hours, seven days a week in West Sussex.

Citizen’s Advice

  • Telephone: 0344 477 1171
  • Centralised number covering Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex, Adur, Worthing, Arun and Chichester.
  • Now centralised and covers above districts. Listen for instructions after dialling main number.

Shelter West Sussex

Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Telephone: 0207 407 0700

Change Grow Live

  • Telephone: 01293 525409
  • Centenary House, County Buildings, Woodfield Road, Crawley, RH10 8GN

Crawley Drug Advice Centre

  • Telephone: 0300 303 8677

Domestic Violence Help Line

  • Telephone: 0808 808 9999

North Sussex Refuge Service

  • Telephone: 01403 750499

Women’s Aid Helpline

  • Telephone: 01903 231939 (Worthing)

East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services

  • Telephone: 01737 771350

Salvation Army

  • Booth Way, Horsham RH13 5PZ
  • Telephone: 01403 254624

Worthing Churches Homeless Project

  • Telephone: 01903 680740
  • Town Hall, Chapel Road, Worthing

Horsham Matters

  • 1 Redkiln Close, Horsham
  • Telephone: 0300 124 0204

Samaritans

  • 21 Denne Road, Horsham – 9am to 9pm (Horsham and Crawley)
  • Telephone: 01403 276276 (Horsham) 01273 772277 (Brighton) 01903 205555 (Worthing)