What to do if you're homeless or threatened with homelessness
We deliver a range of advice and assistance to those with accommodation needs.
We offer free and confidential advice on various housing related subjects, whether you're:
- a Housing Association tenant
- rent privately
- own a property
- have no fixed address
From 3 April 2018 the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force. The act puts a legal duty on councils to:
- offer more support to a wider range of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness
- intervene earlier
The Homelessness Reduction Act – what it means for you
The new Homelessness Reduction Act increases the requirements for local housing authorities to help all eligible applicants – rather than just those with a ‘priority need’.
It adds two new duties:
- duty to take steps to prevent homelessness - we'll help people at risk of losing suitable accommodation as soon as they're threatened with homelessness within 56 days. If you have a valid notice, we can offer you advice now, rather than being told to come back when you have a bailiff’s date
- duty to take steps to relieve homelessness - we'll help all those who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation, regardless of whether they're ‘intentionally homeless’ or priority need. This should mean that all eligible households are offered help to find a home, rather than some people being turned away. It should also ensure that the true scale of homelessness is recorded
If neither of the above steps work and the household becomes, or remains, homeless, then:
- those in priority need retain their right to be rehoused
- non-priority households will not be entitled to further help
Get help to avoid becoming homeless
We'll try to help you keep your current home if you're threatened with becoming homeless within the next 56 days.
If you're a private tenant, we can intervene early by speaking to your landlord to resolve any issues you may have. So, if you've been asked to leave your current accommodation, or have received a notice to quit from your landlord, please contact us as soon as possible for advice.
If it's not possible to prevent you becoming homeless, we'll try to help you to find a new home.
We can also help if:
- you're fleeing domestic abuse
- facing possession proceedings
- being evicted by a private landlord
- being asked to leave by friends or relatives
We can provide financial assistance in a form of an interest-free loan to homeless households who are looking for accommodation in the private rented sector.
The loans are discretionary and are subject to qualifying criteria and a full assessment by your Housing Officer.
Please contact us to apply.
Rough sleepers and single homeless people
We work in partnership with a number of agencies to provide accommodation and support to single homeless and rough sleeping people.
If you're faced with sleeping rough in West Norfolk, there are services that can support you. If you have a local connection to West Norfolk you may be able to access some of the hostels and shared accommodation in the borough. Please contact us so that we can discuss the most suitable option with you, and make appropriate referrals.
If you're concerned for someone sleeping rough, or are sleeping rough yourself, call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or visit www.streetlink.org.uk
If you're a public authority specified by the Homelessness Reduction Act, from 1 October 2018 there is a new duty to refer anyone you think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to the local Council. Please visit our duty to refer page for further information.
Severe weather emergency provision
Good practice guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recommends that local authorities have emergency provisions in place to prevent loss of life of rough sleepers in severe weather conditions.
We work with local charities to ensure that shelter is available to all known rough sleepers in West Norfolk when it's forecast that the overnight temperature will be zero celsius or below for three consecutive nights.
Street begging - help for homeless people
There are lots of reasons why people beg on the street. Each person has their own story to tell, and mostly it'll be one we can sympathise with. However, giving money to homeless people on the street does not always help them.
Evidence suggests that all too often, money gets spent on drink and drugs and this only makes their situation worse.
No one needs to beg to get into a hostel; homelessness hostels are free to enter and eligible people can claim Housing Benefit to meet the cost.
So, if you would like to help the homeless cause, we suggest you donate to a homeless charity of your choice.
To find out more about this problem, please read the Thames Reach: Killing with kindness article.
Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual or any combination.
For help 24 hours a day, you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
If the situation is not an emergency, but you need to call the police, please phone 101.
If you, or anyone else, is at immediate risk of harm, phone the police on 999.
For more information about domestic abuse, please visit the following websites:
If you feel you cannot stay in your home, or want to know more about your housing options, please contact us.