Homelessness

Under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, the Council has certain responsibilities towards people who might be homeless. It is important to note that the homeless procedure is governed by housing law.

The Council has produced a Homelessness Strategy which identifies a number of key action themes aimed to address the need for more accommodation and support for homeless households, and also to address some of the underlying issues which might also impact on this.

Are you homeless?

Do you have suitable alternative accommodation available?  You are homeless if there is no accommodation available to you that is suitable for your needs and that of your household. This means that there must be no alternative accommodation available to you anywhere in the world and not just within the Borough of Broxbourne.

Also the Council will consider if you have the means to secure alternative accommodation, for example in the private sector.  If you are able to do this the Council's duty will be limited to providing advice only.

If you are found not to be homeless or threatened with homelessness you will be advised of the reasons for this decision in writing.

Your right to a review

Under the Housing Act you have the right to a formal review of some of the decisions made regarding your homeless application. A request for a review is only valid if made within 28 days of the decision being given. If you require further information about the review process you should ask your housing needs officer.

Are you eligible for assistance?

Some applicants who are subject to immigration control, or who have been living outside the UK, may not be eligible for assistance even if they have nowhere to live. If you are not eligible, you will be given advice about other help that may be available to you, such as asking Children, Schools and Families to consider you under other legislation.

Are you in priority need?

Temporary accommodation will only be provided for those people found to be in priority need.

You are in a priority need category if:

  •      you have dependent children who live with you

  •      you are pregnant

  •      you are homeless because of a fire, flood or some other similar disaster.

  •      you are vulnerable due to age, mental illness, physical disability or some other special reason. In this category the Council considers whether issues of vulnerability or health prevent you from securing or retaining alternative accommodation or if you would be less able to  cope than another person if you were homeless

If you are not in a priority need category, the Council's duty to you will be limited to providing advice and assistance in order to help you secure alternative accommodation.

Why you have become homeless?

In all cases the Council will investigate the reasons why you are homeless.

These investigations will help the Council decide what duty, if any, it has to you and your family regarding temporary accommodation.

If you are found to be homeless due to a deliberate act or omission, you may be found intentionally homeless. This will mean that the Council will not accept a full housing duty to you.

Instead, temporary accommodation is provided for a limited period (usually 28 days) to give you time to find an alternative place to stay. Examples of people being found intentionally homeless are:

  •      you have lost your accommodation through non-payment of rent when you have sufficient funds and the ability to pay

  •      you have asked your landlord to serve notice

  •      you have been given advice about securing alternative accommodation, but have failed to do so

Do you have a local connection?

The Council will also need to find out if you have a local connection with this Borough.

You will have a local connection if:

  •      you have lived in this Borough for six of the last twelve months or three out of the last five years

  •      you have a permanent job in the Borough

  •      you have a close relative (parent, sister, brother or adult child) who has lived in the Borough for the last five years

  •      there is a special reason

If you do not have a local connection with this Borough, you may be referred to another local authority where you do have a local connection

What assistance will I receive if I am homeless through no fault of my own?

If the Council decides that you are homeless through no fault of your own, and you meet all the criteria, this Council will accept a full housing duty to you. This means the Council will provide temporary accommodation. You will receive notification in writing of the Council's duty. This written decision will also include full details of the reasons why such a duty may cease in the future.

Temporary accommodation

If you apply to the Council for help because you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and the Council accepts you, it will offer you temporary accommodation until you can find a permanent home.

The accommodation may be one of the various types:

1. Hostel accommodation

The Council currently has 11 hostels providing around 90 units, which are a mixture of rooms with shared kitchens and bathrooms and small self–contained flats, and it is likely you will be offered one of these if the Council accepts that you need temporary accommodation.

2. Nightly paid accommodation

If no hostel space is available or appropriate, the Council may offer you nightly paid accommodation until such time as a space in a hostel becomes available, either in self-contained flats or hotel-type accommodation. The Council cannot guarantee that the nightly paid accommodation provided will be within the Borough. Currently, this type of accommodation is most likely to be in Harlow or North London.

Please note any long term accommodation will be in the private sector.

Support for people in temporary accommodation

People living in temporary accommodation (and people who have recently moved from temporary accommodation to permanent accommodation) may be offered advice and support from the Council's Floating Support Worker.

The kind of support you may be offered depends on what would be most helpful to you.  Support often includes making sure that people are getting all the benefits they are entitled to, help with managing money and helping people to find training or a job. If you feel you would like some help, please ask as we will not know otherwise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 To read more frequently asked questions visit Homelessness FAQs.

Contacting the Housing Needs section

Please visit the Housing Needs page to find out how to contact Housing Needs for housing advice or help if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness.