The Council has certain legal responsibilities to help people who are homeless, or may soon become homeless. If you think you may be threatened with homelessness it is best that you get early advice from the Council to:
- try and help prevent your homelessness
- find out about your housing rights and your housing options
- find out about what help the Council may offer you if you become homeless.
If you wish to discuss your housing options, we offer a drop-in service Tuesday to Friday, at Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TN. Details given below:
Tuesdays - Fridays 9.30 a.m - 11.30 a.m
This is on a first come, first served basis and numbers are restricted so it is advisable to arrive early to ensure you are seen. Please telephone in advance to check an advice session is running, particularly if you are coming from some distance away, as occasionally sessions may be cancelled at short notice.
We also offer housing advice at Yaxley Advice Centre on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month in the mornings. There is also a surgery at Ramsey Advice Centre on the 1st Thursday of the month in the mornings and every Thursday afternoon at Paines Mill Foyer, St Neots. Please be advised that you must call 01480 388218 to make an appointment for Yaxley, Ramsey and St Neots surgeries. Please be advised that a Housing Advice and Options Officer is only available at these surgeries for booked appointments and these are not drop in sessions.
What will the Council do to help?
The Council will offer you advice and assistance to try to prevent your homelessness. Where this is not possible you will be offered advice on other options, such as privately renting. This will include information on private lettings agents, schemes such as the Rent In Advance/Rent Deposit scheme and how you apply for Housing Benefit if you might need help with the rent.
The Council will also offer advice on any help that you may receive under the homelessness legislation. This legislation tells the Council what level of help should be offered to households in different situations. To be able to tell you what level of help you may be offered under this legislation the Council will need to investigate and have proof of the following:
- that you are homeless or threatened with homelessness; and
- that you are eligible for assistance; and
- that you have a priority need; and
- that you did not become homeless intentionally; and
- that you have a local connection with the district.
Who is homeless?
Someone may be homeless if:
- they have nowhere to live in the UK or anywhere else in the world; or
- they are staying somewhere where they have no legal right to remain; or
- they have a home but are afraid of violence, abuse, harassment or threats.
Who is eligible for assistance?
This relates to people who may not be eligible for help with housing in the UK. Most people will be eligible but you may not be eligible if:
- you are subject to immigration control and have limited rights to remain in the UK;or
- you are an asylum seeker; or
- you are not subject to immigration control but you have recently returned from abroad to live in the UK. This can still apply to you if you are a British citizen who has lived abroad for some time.
The Council will discuss this with you in more detail if this is likely to apply to you.
Who has a Priority Need?
You have a priority need if:
- you have dependent children living with you as part of your household; or
- you are a pregnant woman or have a pregnant woman living with you in your household; or
- You have become homeless because of a fire, flood or other emergency; or
- You are 16 or 17 years old and social services does not have responsibility for you; or
- You are aged 18 to 20 and used to be in care; or
- you are assessed as being vulnerable because you are less able to find and keep accommodation of your own.
If you do not have an obvious priority need, the Council will discuss with you what may make someone vulnerable and assess whether this applies to you.
Who is intentionally homeless?
Someone is considered to have made themselves homeless intentionally if they did something (such as act in an anti-social way), or failed to do something (such as not pay their rent), that resulted in them losing their home.
If you are in priority need, but also became homeless intentionally, the Council will not have a responsibility to offer you help with housing. The Council will though give you advice to help you find accommodation.
Who has a local connection?
You have a 'local connection' if:
- you have lived in Huntingdonshire for a certain amount of time
- you have a permanent job in Huntingdonshire
- certain members of your family have resided in Huntingdonshire for a specified length of time
- you have a local connection for another special reason.
If you have a priority need, are not intentionally homeless and do not have a local connection, you will usually be referred to a Council in an area where you do have a local connection. The Council will ask that authority to find accommodation for you.
For the full details of the legislation relating to homelessness please see the following links on the right:
The Housing Act 1996 Part VII
The Homelessness Act 2002
If you are likely to be threatened with homelessness, it is best to get advise from the Council as soon as possible. This will allow us to try and help prevent your homelessness if possible, or work with you to explain the next course of action that you could take.
Please make an appointment to see a Housing Advice & Options Officer by ringing (01480) 388218 if you are likely to be homeless and need help and advice on what you should do next.